Cops who ripped off drug dealers sentenced

January 3, 2008 3:37:22 PM PST
A judge sentenced three former Chicago police officers to prison time Thursday for shaking down drug dealers while on the job and reselling confiscated drugs.

One of the officers was sentenced to 40 years in prison. A fourth officer will be sentenced Friday. They were arrested in 2004 in the Englewood neighborhood.

So far, Judge Ronald Guzman has shown no mercy for this latest batch of convicted corrupt Chicago police officers. These men were arrested three years ago in the Englewood neighborhood. Their alleged ringleader who pleaded guilty some time ago was the first to have his plea for mercy rejected by the judge.

About two dozen relatives attended the hearing, all hoping that the court would be lenient in its sentencing of Chicago policeman Broderick Jones, who pleaded guilty to charges that he led a ring of cops who robbed South Side drug dealers of cash and narcotics and resold the cocaine.

Jones, who has spent the last three years in a federal jail, told Judge Guzman, "I'm not a bad guy. Basically, I'm in this situation because of greed. I want a second chance to get back to my life. I've been incarcerated for three years and I'll never take my freedom for granted again."

Jones' grandmother and his 16-year-old daughter made their own pleas for mercy, and his lawyer Rick Halprin noted that Jones is a decorated Gulf War veteran, adding that "police corruption did not start nor will it end with Broderick Jones."

Prosecutor John Lausch, asking for the maximum life sentence, countered, "What Mr. Halprin is saying is that we should treat police officers differently."

Announcing the 25 year sentence, Judge Guzman said the evidence showed "(Jones) was clearly the leader and driving force behind this criminal conspiracy. He abused his authority. He distributed lethal poison on the streets and did it repeatedly." Guzman added: "The damage goes far beyond individual drug dealers. By his conduct he damaged entire neighborhoods."

Attorney Halprin took issue with the judge's stated intent to send a message to corrupt Chicago police officers.

"It's very distressful to me when judges or prosecutors talk about sending messages out. We prosecute individuals. We defend individuals. And we sentence individuals. There are no messages to be sent out," said Halprin, Jones' attorney.

Next up was former officer Darak Haynes, who also pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 19 years, even though the evidence suggested the 10-year veteran profited only $500 from his role in the conspiracy.

A third convicted former officer, Eural Black, was sentenced to 40 years late Thursday afternoon. Black was convicted after a trial. That means that he did not plead guilty in this case. And as a result of that, he actually got a longer sentence than the alleged ring leader in this case, Broderick Jones.

A fourth officer, Corey Flagg, will be sentenced Friday. Flagg actually became a government witness during the investigation, meaning he is likely to receive a lesser sentence than the others.

Lawsuits against the corrupt cops have already cost the city over $200,000 and Cook County prosecutors have had to drop dozens of bogus criminal cases filed by the guilty officers.