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CPD officer tied to Special Operations Section scandal faces firing 16 years later

Supt. David Brown filed administrative charges in November against Officer Thomas Sherry, who was assigned to the SOS from 2002 until 2006. The charges focus on two illegal raids conducted by the SOS on July 27, 2004, on the Northwest Side.

CPD Officer Thomas Sherry leaves the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in 2009 after criminal charges against him were dropped.
CPD Officer Thomas Sherry leaves the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in 2009 after criminal charges against him were dropped.
Sun-Times file

Sixteen years after he allegedly took part in one of the Chicago Police Department’s biggest scandals, the department has moved to fire officer Thomas Sherry, formerly of the disgraced and disbanded Special Operations Section.

In November 2020, Supt. David Brown filed administrative charges against Sherry, who was assigned to the SOS from 2002 until 2006. The charges against Sherry focus on two illegal raids conducted by the SOS on July 27, 2004, on the Northwest Side.

The CPD alleges Sherry and others in the SOS — including legendarily corrupt former Chicago cop Jerome Finnigan — illegally raided the two residences and lied about where they recovered narcotics.

In all, Brown brought five charges against Sherry: violation of any law or ordinance, making a false report, disobeying an order, bringing discredit upon the CPD, and failing to promote the CPD’s efforts to accomplish its goals.

Sherry’s attorney could not be reached for comment Wednesday. A CPD spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

The first police board evidentiary hearing in the case is scheduled for next month. Brown recommended that Sherry be fired.

Sherry was suspended and stripped of his police powers in 2006 after he and other SOS cops were charged in Cook County Circuit Court. Those charges — which included armed violence, armed robbery, home invasion, aggravated kidnapping and burglary — were dropped in 2009.

Sherry was then assigned to the CPD’s Alternate Response Section, which is staffed by officers who’ve been stripped of police powers and others who are not medically cleared for full duty. The Alternate Response Section largely handles nonemergency police calls.

Eleven officers were ultimately convicted in connection with the SOS scandal and former Supt. Phil Cline retired after the unit was disbanded.

Sherry filed a federal lawsuit against the CPD in 2018, seeking back pay and claiming he hasn’t been granted an administrative hearing to clear his name. The suit is pending.

Sherry’s lawsuit alleged the CPD’s Office of Internal Affairs has never tried to interview him since the charges were dropped, and the department has failed to give him a list of the charges and allegations against him.

He is seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay for the time he was suspended, as well as damages related to the “emotional distress, anxiety and humiliation” he has been subjected to. He also wants the department to return the weapons that were confiscated from him over a decade ago, one of which has already been destroyed, the suit says.