A Freedom of Information request by the Chicago Tribune has yielded a list of officers who collected at least 11 complaints each between 2001 and 2006, when a scandal over how corrupt the Special Operations Sections (SOS) of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) broke. The Tribune reports:
Four Chicago police officers from a unit at the center of one of the worst misconduct scandals in department history amassed 200 complaints in the years leading up to revelations that they were repeatedly abusing and robbing citizens, according to City of Chicago documents made available this week to the Tribune.
The officers included former cops Jerome Finnigan and Keith Herrera of the now-defunct Special Operations Sections. They racked up 105 complaints against them to Internal Affairs from 2001 through 2006 – the period during which the officers took part in robberies, illegal traffic stops and illegal searches of the homes of suspected drug dealers and other citizens.
Finnigan was sentenced to 12 years in jail in 2011 for plotting to kill another cop, while in 2012 Herrera was sentenced to two months for participating in three robberies with SOS. Before being convicted, but after being charged, Herrera insisted he and the other "special ops" members of the CPD were just doing their job, which he says was described as getting guns and drugs off the street "at any cost."
Craig Futterman, a professor at the University of Chicago's law school who was involved in the litigation that spurred the creation of the list, says it's evidence that the CPD could've clued itself in to the corruption at SOS before 2006. Futterman also insists not every cop on the list (which includes only cops who have had at least 11 complaints in five years filed against them) was a "bad cop."
Since 2004 Chicago has spent an average of $1 million a week settling and otherwise handling lawsuits against the CPD.