BY: The Exoneration Project

BREAKING: Seventeen More Convictions Tied to Corrupt Sgt. Ronald Watts and His Team to be Dismissed at Hearings This Week

63 Men and Women Have Had 82 Convictions Tossed Since 2016 

This marks the fourth mass exoneration of Watts victims in the last 15 months

CHICAGO – The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has moved to vacate and dismiss drug charges against 14 more men, all of whom were framed by disgraced former Chicago Police Sergeant Ronald Watts and members of his tactical team.

A hearing for 10 of the men is scheduled for 9am, Monday, February 11, 2019 in Courtroom 101 of the Leighton Courthouse, 2650 S. California Avenue, Chicago. The four other men’s cases are expected to be dismissed at a second hearing scheduled for 9am, Wednesday, February 13, 2019 in the same location.

Many of Watts’ victims and attorneys from The Exoneration Project will be available to address the media on Monday directly after what’s expected to be a brief court hearing.

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 his team were running a “protection racket” for more than a decade, planting evidence and fabricating charges against southside 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” and recently chastised 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.

In November 2017, 15 men represented by The Exoneration Project had convictions tossed out in Cook County’s first ever mass exoneration. A second mass exoneration on September 24, 2018 led to the dismissal of 23 convictions of 18 more men. A third mass exoneration on November 2, 2018 saw eight more convictions of six men and one woman dismissed.

In total, following Monday and Wednesday’s court hearings, 63 individuals will have had 82 convictions tied to Watts and his corrupt team dismissed in what the Chief Justice of the Illinois Court of Claims has called “one of the most staggering cases of police corruption in the history of the City of Chicago.” The Exoneration Project has represented 47 of these individuals, and according to Attorney Joshua Tepfer, “there are dozens more with credible claims waiting to have their cases reviewed.”

The ten people whose cases will be dismissed tomorrow are all represented by The Exoneration Project. This includes Henry Thomas, who already had one case dismissed in the November 2017 mass exoneration and is expected to have a second one dismissed on Monday.

The four people whose cases will be dismissed on Wednesday are represented by Joel Flaxman of the Law Office of Kenneth N. Flaxman P.C., who, in total, have represented 17 men whose convictions have been overturned. (One man was represented jointly by both The Exoneration Project and the Law Office of Kenneth N. Flaxman, P.C.)

Fallout from the mass dismissals has led to fifteen current Chicago police officers tied to Watts’ tactical team being put on desk duty by the Chicago Police Department. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has also informed the Chicago police that they will no longer use testimony from officers tied to Watts.

Below is a list of individuals whose convictions are expected to be dismissed on Monday, February 11, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. at the Leighton Courthouse, 2650 S. California Avenue, RM 101. 

Henry Thomas – In December 2006, Watts and his team falsely detained Thomas outside Ida B. Wells and planted drugs on him. This is the second drug conviction tied to Watts’ team Thomas has had overturned.

Cordero Payne – After years of harassment by Watts and his team, Payne was framed by them in December 2005 at Ida B. Wells housing after refusing to bribe the officers.

Zarice Johnson – Watts and his team framed Johnson for two different drug crimes—one in July 2006 and then again in February 2008. Both times Johnson was merely visiting and spending time with friends or family at Ida B. Wells when Watts falsely detained Johnson, shook him down, and planted drugs on him.

Sydney Harvey – The first time Watts falsely detained Harvey he let him go. Watts told him, however, the next time Harvey saw him Watts would arrest him if he didn’t give him information. In October 2006, Watts and his team kept his promise, falsely detaining Harvey at Ida B. Wells and planting drugs on him.

Alvin Waddy – Watts and his team detained and framed Waddy for a drug crime in April 2007 at Ida B. Wells.

Kim Wilbourn – Wilbourn was visiting a friend at Ida B. Wells in September 2006 when Watts and his team detained him, shook him down, and framed him. Kim is the brother of Vondell Wilbourn, who was also repeatedly targeted and framed by Watts and had two drug convictions dismissed in September 2018.

Derrick Lewis – Watts and his team had a long history of shaking down Derrick Lewis. They framed him for fabricated drug crimes twice—first, in July 2004 and then again in September 2007. Both times Lewis was merely in an Ida B. Wells housing unit when Watts and his team illegally entered and fabricated drug charges against him.

Gregory Dobbins – In March 2004, Watts and his team falsely detained Dobbins in front of an Ida B. Wells building. The officers demanded money and a gun to avoid false arrest—and proceeded to frame Dobbins for a drug crime.

Raynard Carter – Watts and his team twice fabricated drugs charges against Raynard Carter—first in February 2006 and then again in April 2007. Both times Carter was merely visiting friends at Ida B. Wells when he encountered Watts and his team and was falsely arrested.

Darron Byrd – Byrd was falsely arrested and framed by Watts at the same time as Raynard Carter in April 2007.

Below is a list of individuals whose convictions are expected to be dismissed on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. at the Leighton Courthouse, 2650 S. California Avenue, RM 101.

Jermaine Coleman – Watts and his team framed Coleman for drug possession in May of 2006.

Jabal Stokes – Watts and his team framed Stokes at the same time they framed Coleman.

Robert Lindsey – Watts and his team framed Lindsey for drug possession in October 2009. Lindsey made a complaint to Internal Affairs that the officers took drugs from another man and falsely stated that they found them on Lindsey and Germain Sims.

Germain Sims – Watts and his team framed Sims at the same time they framed Lindsey.

Coleman, Stokes, Lindsey, and Sims are represented by Joel Flaxman of the Law Office of Kenneth N. Flaxman, 312-427-3200.

The following 63 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

(Flax) 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/Flax) 1 5 years
Anthony McDaniels (EP) 1 12 years – released from prison via exoneration
William Carter (Flax) 3 9 years; CCDOC Boot Camp
Bruce Powell (Flax) 1 1 year
Robert Forney (Flax) 1 5 years
Angelo Shenault, Sr. (Flax) 2 3 years; 15 months
Angelo Shenault, Jr. (Flax) 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) 1 1 year
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 (Flax) 1 4 years
Milton Delaney (EP) 1 1 year
Cleon Glover (EP) 1 3 years
Rickey Henderson (Flax) 4 3 years; 1-1/2 years;

3-1/2 years; 4 years

Brian Hunt (EP) 1 Probation
Goleather Jefferson (Flax) 1 1 year
Larry Lomax (EP) 1 Probation
Willie Martin (EP) 1 3-1/2 years
James Moore (EP) 1 1 year
George Ollie (Flax) 1 2 years
Mister Lucky Pearson (EP) 1 4 years
Nephus Thomas (Flax) 1 4 years
Vondell Wilbourn (Flax) 2 1-1/2 years; 4 years
Gregory Warren (EP) 1 Probation
Martez Wise (EP) 1 1 year
Harvey Blair (Flax) 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
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
Jermaine Coleman (Flax) 1 4 years
Jabal Stokes (Flax) 1 4 years
Robert Lindsey (Flax) 1 4 years
Germaine Sims (Flax) 1 2 years