A dirty Chicago cop who proclaimed himself the “Mayor of 63rd Street” was sentenced to 15 months in prison Wednesday for shaking down a tow truck driver and selling guns to a convicted felon.
Ali Haleem was only spared a longer sentence because of his “extraordinary degree of cooperation” with prosecutors, U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee said.
Suspected of wrongdoing for years, Haleem, 47, was allowed to keep his police job when he was busted by the feds in 2008, so that he could use his skills as an undercover informant.
He wore a wire and helped build public corruption cases against nine other defendants, including the campaign treasurer for former State Sen. Rickey Hendon and two brothers who took bribes to cut property taxes at the Cook County Board of Review.
Speaking Wednesday, an emotional Haleem told the court that in an attempt to right his wrongs he had taken “a 180 degree turn” by working for the FBI for four years following his capture.
Apologizing to the judge, his family and “the citizens of Chicago,” he said, “to say that I’m sorry is an understatement.”
He is one of 10 former Chicago cops to be convicted in recent years of extorting tow truck drivers at accident scenes.
But Lee told him that by selling two guns for $1,000 to a convicted felon at a South Side Dunkin’ Donuts in 2007 and later selling another stolen gun at a White Castle, Haleem had “increased the risk of violence” on Chicago’s streets.
The betrayal of his badge “put more guns on the street and it ruptured the trust that the public is entitled to have in the police,” the judge said.
Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 20 months.
But Lee said he took into account Haleem’s work building trust between authorities and the Arab-American community, his service in the National Guard and his otherwise “distinguished career as a police officer” in sparing him.
He said prosecutors provided no evidence to support their allegation that Haleem once offered $10,000 to an alderman in an attempt to get a promotion in the police department.
Unmentioned at Wednesday’s sentencing hearing were prior allegations that Haleem was paid by a drug smuggling ring in 2001 to tip them off about investigations.
Both federal and internal police probes of those alleged crimes went nowhere. And it wasn’t until Haleem was unmasked as an informant in 2012 that he finally left the police department.