Top prosecutor: ‘Sad day’ when four cops charged with perjury in drug case

SHARE Top prosecutor: ‘Sad day’ when four cops charged with perjury in drug case

Cook County’s top prosecutor called it a “sad day,” as she announced felony perjury charges Monday against three Chicago Police officers and one from north suburban Glenview.

All four officers were charged after video footage from a Glenview police squad car contradicted what they’d said in a drug case in a Skokie courthouse hearing in March 2014, prosecutors said.

“It’s a sad day when we have to do this,” Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez told reporters at the George Leighton Criminal Courthouse. “I respect and appreciate every job that police officers do each and every day here in the city of Chicago and all of Cook County. We also know that when it comes to testifying falsely . . . we have to hold all of our witnesses to the same standard.”

Chicago Police officers Vince Morgan, 49; William Pruente, 54; Sgt. James Padar, 41; and Glenview Police officer James Horn, 52, were each ordered held on a $10,000 bond, following a hearing in front of Cook County Judge James Brown. The officers are also each charged with official misconduct and obstructing justice.

The charges stem from a police narcotics investigation of a 24-year-old Glenview man. The man was arrested June 6, 2013, with police confiscating suspected drugs from the man’s car. But prosecutors allege that the officers lied during a March 31, 2014, court hearing in connection with the drugs case.

All of the officers testified during the hearing that the drug suspect was handcuffed only after police recovered drugs from his car, prosecutors say. But video footage from a squad car at the scene contradicted that testimony, showing the man was arrested before his car was searched, prosecutors say.

The video footage later prompted a Cook County judge to dismiss charges against the Glenview man.

“There is a huge difference between a mistaken testimony and perjury. . . . We’re pretty convinced by what we’ve seen that at the end of the day, it’s going to come out that this was nothing more than mistaken testimony, and it’s not going to be a criminal matter,” Horn’s attorney, Dan Herbert, told reporters after the bond hearing.

The Chicago Police officers have been stripped of their police powers and assigned to desk duty, while the Glenview officer has been placed on administrative leave, prosecutors said.

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