Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration says it does not “intend to oppose” a request for a court-appointed investigator to identify wrongful convictions tied to corrupt former police Sgt. Ronald Watts.
“We support efforts to ensure that those convicted of crimes are guilty of the crimes for which they were convicted,” city Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
Watts and an officer under him went to federal prison for stealing what they thought was drug money. Officers who investigated the sergeant have described corruption allegations spanning more than a decade.
In one case, the Watts crew arrested South Sider Ben Baker and his wife Clarissa Glenn on drug charges. Baker spent almost 10 years in prison before their exoneration this year.
Last week civil-rights advocates petitioned a Cook County judge to appoint a “special master” with subpoena powers to identify other people framed by Watts or officers under his supervision.
On Tuesday, the State’s Attorney’s Office said it does not oppose the petition.
McCaffrey’s statement says the city doesn’t either but calls it “premature to speculate that any additional convictions will be overturned as a result of this petition and further investigation.”
Chip Mitchell reports out of WBEZ’s West Side studio. Follow him on @ChipMitchell1.