BY: The Exoneration Project

PRESS CONFERENCE: Court Petition for 88 victims of Disgraced Chicago Police Sergeant Ronald Watts

MEDIA ADVISORY

To download the press release, click here.

To read an infographic with more info, click here.

To see photos from the press conference on July 23, click herePhotos by Teddy Gonzales.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Monday, July 19, 2021

For Information:

Joshua Tepfer, The Exoneration Project, 773-575-4424, josh@exonerationproject.org

Joel Flaxman, Kenneth N. Flaxman, P.C., 312-427-3200, jaf@kenlaw.com

Rebekah Ausbrook, The Exoneration Project, 202-262-0674, rebekah@exonerationproject.org

Kevin Lampe, Kurth Lampe, 312-617-7280, kevin@kurthlampe.com

       

What:            Press Conference Announcing Court Petition for 88 Victims of

                        Disgraced Former  Chicago Police  Sergeant Ronald Watts

Where:          37th and South King Drive (at the Ida B. Wells Plaque)

                         Site of the former Ida B. Wells Housing Projects

When:           Tuesday, July 20, 2021 – 11:00 a.m., CT

 

ATTORNEYS AND VICTIMS OF DISGRACED FORMER POLICE SERGEANT RONALD WATTS WILL SPEAK AND BE AVAILABLE TO THE MEDIA

CHICAGO – Disgraced former Chicago Police Sergeant Ronald Watts and his team of corrupt officers are responsible for hundreds of false drug convictions. To date, more than 100 such convictions have been thrown out in the largest mass exoneration in Chicago history. Those victims, later adjudicated innocent, were sentenced to over 274 years in prison.

On Tuesday, July 20, 2021, 88 additional victims of Watts and his team will file a joint petition in the Circuit Court of Cook County seeking to vacate their wrongful drug convictions caused by Watts and his team. The petition asks the Court to overturn 100 convictions total for the 88 Black men and women in one of the most staggering cases of police corruption in Chicago history.

At 11 a.m. on Tuesday, the victims and their attorneys will hold a press conference formally announcing the petition. The press conference will be held at 37th and South King Drive—the former site of the Ida B. Wells public housing complex where Watts and his team framed many of the victims.

“The system did and has continued to fail these men and women,” said Joshua Tepfer, an attorney with The Exoneration Project, who represents 60 of the 88 petitioners. “Many of the victims identified in this petition have been waiting years for the State’s Attorney’s acknowledgement that they, too, were innocent men and women framed by known corrupt officers. It is time for Ms. Foxx to follow the lead of her progressive prosecutor counterparts in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and elsewhere and vacate all convictions connected to criminal police officers and rogue government actors. It is long past due.”

The petition will include over two hundred exhibits and thousands of pages documenting the decade-long reign of corruption by police on mostly Black housing project residents that only ended when Watts and one of his team members, Kallatt Mohammed, were federally indicted in 2012. During that decade, Watts and his team ran a “protection racket” that including planting evidence and fabricating charges while facilitating Watts’ own gun and drug trade.

The cases of the 88 victims are indistinguishable from 109 convictions that have already been tossed out.

“The harm to these individuals is impossible to overstate. Many were forced to plead guilty because they knew that no one would listen to the truth,” said Joel Flaxman, attorney at the Law Offices of Kenneth N. Flaxman P.C., who represents 28 of the 88 petitioners. “This petition leaves no doubt about the truth. These victims of Watts and his team deserve to be heard, and they deserve justice.”

Courts and city leaders have widely acknowledged the seriousness and scope of the Watts-led corruption. One Illinois court has referred to Watts and his team as a “criminal posse of corrupt cops.” And Mayor Lori Lightfoot 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.

Lawyers for the victims highlight the need for further accountability for Watts and his crew. Despite a lengthy investigation, the State’s Attorney has failed to take action on Petitioners’ cases. Aside from Watts and one other member of his team, no officer connected to the team has faced criminal charges or even received any discipline for their role in the corruption. Most remain on the force. At least two have been promoted.

In March 2021, the City’s latest police oversight board—the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA)—announced that it had delivered its “first report of finding and recommendations to the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department” related to officers connected to the Watts-led corruption. City ordinance gives the Superintendent 90 days to review the report before any public release, which expired in mid-June. The City continues to withhold the report.

Copies of the petition will be available at the press conference.

A list documenting both the 109 convictions previously overturned as well as the 88 victims who are filing the new petition is found below.

 

The following 88 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.

 


 

88 Victims in Petition

Cinque Abbott (Flaxman)

Crystal Allen (EP)

George Almond (EP)

Deonta Anderson (EP)

Herbert Anderson (EP)

Anthony Baker (EP)

Teshama Beal (EP)

Jimmie Bell (EP)

Percy Bolden (Flaxman)

Darryl Boyd (EP)

Glen Braboy (Flaxman)

Vernell Breeland (EP)

Javon Bradley (EP)

Warren Brakes (Flaxman)

Jason Brown (Flaxman)

Sean Bush (EP)

Jerome Bynum (Flaxman)

Lugene Claybon (EP)

Eson Claybron (EP)

Jermaine Coleman (Flaxman)

Laurarence Coleman (AKA Diana Rena) (Flaxman)

Michael Conley (EP)

Tracy Cooper (AKA Marcus Washington) (Flaxman)

William Crawford (Flaxman)

Corey Davis (Flaxman)

Greg Dobbins (EP)

Joey Fenton (EP)

Tyrone Fenton (EP)

Christine Fisher (EP)

Michael Flagg (Flaxman)

Anthony Gayles (Flaxman)

Darnell Goodwin (EP)

Erica Goree (Flaxman)

Lakiya Gresham (EP)

Darryl Hall (EP)

Darnell Harris (AKA Darnell Trabeck) (EP)

Maurice Harris (EP)

Gregory Haynes (EP)

Antonio Haywood (EP)

Sonny Hendricks (EP)

Roy Hinton (Flaxman)

Larry Hinton (Flaxman)

Terrance Hogans (EP)

Dwayne Holmes (EP)

Darnell Howard (EP)

Torrence Ivory (EP)

Donald Johnson (EP)

Sherman Johnson (EP)

George Key (Flaxman)

Marie Leaks (EP)

Sherman Lewis (EP)

Russ Lipscomb (EP)

Lonnell Madison (EP)

Darnell Martin (EP)

Anthony Mays (EP)

Elgen Moore (EP)

Jermaine Morris (EP)

Thomas Nash (Flaxman)

Lolita Newell (AKA Lolita Sparks) (Flaxman)

Keith Owens (EP)

Ron Owens (EP)

Cordero Payne (EP)

Jarvis Perkins (EP)

James Randolph (Flaxman)

Willie Robinson (EP)

Leonard Saunders (EP)

Richard Scales (AKA Kenneth Jones) (Flaxman)

Rasaan Shannon (EP)

Stephen Shelton (EP)

Oliver Sims (Flaxman)

Tyree Smith (EP)

Walter Thomas (EP)

Joseph Thompson (Flaxman)

Christopher Turner (EP)

Bruce Walker (Flaxman)

David Walker (Flaxman)

Derek Walker (Flaxman)

Kimberly Watkins (Green) (EP)

Antoine White (Flaxman)

Theodore (“Ed”) Wilkins (EP)

John Williams (Flaxman)

Leroy Williams (EP)

Dexter Willis (EP)

D’Andra Woods (EP)

Anthony Wright (Flaxman)

Anthony Wright, Jr. (EP)

Joseph Wright (EP)

Gregory Young (EP)