BY: The Exoneration Project

BREAKING: 7th Mass Exoneration of Victims of Corrupt CPD Sgt. Ronald Watts

Seven men and two women have

drug convictions dismissed

CHICAGO – At age 14, Lloyd Newman was one of the protagonists and producers of the Peabody award-winning National Public Radio docuseries Ghetto Life 101—which chronicled the daily lives of two children growing up in the Ida B. Wells (“Wells”) housing projects. By 1996, Newman, LeAlan Jones, and six-time Peabody Award winner and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow David Isay published a best-selling book—Our America–telling the boys’ stories.

A decade later in 2006, Newman was framed by disgraced former Chicago police Sergeant Ronald Watts and members of his team. At a brief court hearing this morning, Newman’s conviction was one of nine vacated—the latest in a series of mass exonerations caused by a review of Watts and his team’s misconduct as they patrolled the Wells and other housing projects during the mid-2000s.

The dismissals bring the total to 110 Watts-related convictions tossed in what has become one of largest police scandals in Chicago history. Mayor Lori Lightfoot herself has called Watts “the Burge of our time,” referring to Chicago Commander Jon Burge who for years physically tortured African American men into false confessions.

In a sworn affidavit, Newman recalls the September 9, 2006 day when he was leaving his sister’s apartment in Wells when Watts and one of his team members, Alvin Jones, stopped and searched him. Newman was neither doing anything illegal nor did he have drugs. Undeterred, Watts arrested him anyway, producing drugs from a door frame and falsely attributing them to Newman. As Newman protested and explained that he was the subject of the NPR series and college-bound, Watts suggested to his partner Jones that perhaps they shouldn’t frame Newman. Jones, however, remained unmoved, and continued processing the false police report. Newman was jailed, convicted, and sentenced to 24 months’ probation. It was and remains his only felony conviction, and now it is gone.

In 2012, Watts and Officer Kallatt Mohammed were federally indicted and later pled guilty to taking a bribe from an informant. Law enforcement documents have since revealed that Watts and members of his team were running a “protection racket” for more than a decade, planting evidence and fabricating charges against Black Southside housing project residents while facilitating their own drug and gun trade.

The Illinois Appellate Court has referred to Watts and his team as “corrupt police officers,” perjurers, and “criminals,” chastising the City’s police disciplinary oversight bodies for their utter failure to do anything “to slow down the criminal” police officers during a decade of corruption.

Yet well over three years after the mass exonerations started, the City’s latest police oversight board—the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA)—also has done nothing, leaving the roughly dozen Watts subordinates tied to the dismissed cases as active members of CPD. This includes Alvin Jones—who has since been promoted to Sergeant and who Newman and scores of other victims directly link to Watts’ misconduct.

In addition to Newman, Marc Giles, Clifford Roberts, Bryant Patrick, Jermaine Morris, Tyrone Herron, Eveless Harris, Trinere Johnson, and Catrina Bonner had drug convictions tossed. All allege similar misconduct from Watts and his team. Johnson and Bonner are represented by Kenneth M. Flaxman, P.C.; the remaining men are represented by the Exoneration Project.

All told, after this morning’s dismissals, 87 Black men and women have had Watts-related convictions dismissed, almost always long after they finished their sentences. Together, they were sentenced to serve over 274 years in prison.

For his 2013 federal conviction, Watts served less than 2 years in prison and one subordinate, Mohammed, served 18 months. No other officer has faced charges.

Attorneys representing the Watts victims allege that several dozen more Black men and women have made credible claims in sworn statements that they were also framed by Watts and his team.


The following 87 individuals have had convictions dismissed based on allegations they were framed by Watts and his team.

(EP) indicates they are represented by The Exoneration Project

(Flaxman) indicates they are represented by the Law Office of Kenneth N. Flaxman, P.C

Individual # of Convictions Sentence
Ben Baker (EP) 2 18 Years – released from prison via exoneration
Clarissa Glenn (EP) 1 Probation
Lionel White, Sr. (EP/Flaxman) 1 5 years
Anthony McDaniels (EP) 1 12 years – released from prison via exoneration
William Carter (Flaxman) 3 9 years; CCDOC Boot Camp
Bruce Powell (Flaxman) 1 1 year
Robert Forney (Flaxman) 1 5 years
Angelo Shenault, Sr. (Flaxman) 2 3 years; 15 months
Angelo Shenault, Jr. (Flaxman) 3 4 years; 30 months; 2 years
Allen Jackson (EP) 1 1 year
Christopher Scott (EP) 1 Probation
Frank Saunders (EP) 1 4 years
Henry Thomas (EP) 2 4 years; 4 years
Jamar Lewis (EP) 1 5 years
Jamell Sanders (EP) 1 Probation
Lee Rainey (EP) 2 Probation
Leonard Gipson (EP) 3 2 Years; CCDOC Boot Camp
Lionel White, Jr. (EP) 1 Probation
Marcus Gibbs (EP) 1 2 years
Andre McNairy (EP) 1 9 years
Phillip Thomas (EP) 1 6 years
Shaun James (EP) 2 1 year; 6 years
Taurus Smith (EP) 1 Probation
Thomas Jefferson (EP) 1 4 years
Landon Allen (EP) 1 Probation
Deandre Bell (EP) 2 Probation
Bobby Coleman (EP) 1 4 years
Joshua Curtis (Flaxman) 1 4 years
Milton Delaney (EP) 1 1 year
Cleon Glover (EP) 1 3 years
Rickey Henderson (Flaxman) 4 3 years; 1-1/2 years; 3-1/2 years; 4 years
Brian Hunt (EP) 1 Probation
Goleather Jefferson (Flaxman) 1 1 year
Larry Lomax (EP) 1 Probation
Willie Martin (EP) 1 3-1/2 years
James Moore (EP) 1 1 year
George Ollie (Flaxman) 1 2 years
Mister Lucky Pearson (EP) 1 4 years
Nephus Thomas (Flaxman) 1 4 years
Vondell Wilbourn (Flaxman) 2 1-1/2 years; 4 years
Gregory Warren (EP) 1 Probation
Martez Wise (EP) 1 1 year
Harvey Blair (Flaxman) 1 4 years
George Almond (EP) 1 2 years
Craig Colvin (EP) 1 1-1/2 years
Kenneth Hicks (EP) 1 1-1/2 years
Octayvia McDonald (EP) 1 Probation
Lapon Thompson (EP) 1 2 years
Isaac Weekly (EP) 1 Probation
Deon Willis (EP) 2 Probation; 2 years
Cordero Payne (EP) 1 2 years
Zarice Johnson (EP) 2 Probation; 4 years
Sydney Harvey (EP) 1 4-1/2 years
Jermaine Coleman (Flaxman) 1 4 years
Jabal Stokes (Flaxman) 1 4 years
Robert Lindsey (Flaxman) 1 4 years
Germaine Sims (Flaxman) 1 2 years
Alvin Waddy (EP) 1 3 years
Kim Wilbourn (EP) 1 2 years
Derrick Lewis (EP) 2 2 years; 3 years
Gregory Dobbins (EP) 1 3 years
Raynard Carter (EP) 2 3 years; 1-1/2 years
Darron Byrd (EP) 1 1 -1/2 years
Chauncy Ali (EP) 1 1 year
Christopher Farris (EP) 1 4 years
Stefon Harrison (EP) 2 1 year; 4 years
David Mayberry (EP) 1 1 year
Anthony Mays (EP) 1 2-1/2 years
Gregory Molette (EP) 1 2 years
Jajuan Nile (EP) 1 3 years
Hasaan Potts (EP) 1 1-1/2 years
Calvin Robinson (EP) 1 2 years
Alhummza Stokes (EP) 1 3 years
Terrence Moye (Flaxman) 1 4 years
Demetris Adams (Flaxman) 1 1 year
Antwan Bradley (EP) 1 Probation
David Holmes (EP) 1 4 years
Bryant Patrick (EP) 2 6 years, probation
Derrick Mapp (EP) 1 4 years
Jermaine Morris (EP) 2 1 year, 2 years
Clifford Roberts (EP) 1 4 years
Marc Giles (EP) 1 8 years
Lloyd Newman (EP) 1 probation
Tyrone Herron (EP) 1 1 year
Eveless Harris (EP) 1 1 year
Trinere Johnson (Flaxman) 1 Probation
Catrina Bonner (Flaxman) 1 Probation


 Total = 274 years and 3 months of criminal sentences; 22 sentences of probation or boot camp.


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