88 more people say they were framed by corrupt ex-Chicago cop Ronald Watts, want their convictions tossed

The group wants a judge to force Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office to review each of their cases.

SHARE 88 more people say they were framed by corrupt ex-Chicago cop Ronald Watts, want their convictions tossed
Crystal Allen is one of 88 people who say they were framed by corrupt ex-Chicago cop Ronald Watts and his tactical team.

Crystal Allen is one of 88 people who say they were framed by corrupt ex-Chicago cop Ronald Watts and his tactical team.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Fourteen years ago, Chicago Police Sgt. Ronald Watts and his team descended on Crystal Allen’s South Side apartment, asking her if she wanted to “work with them.”

Allen told them no, and before she knew it, she says, the cops had planted drugs in her apartment.

“Maybe 20 minutes later, I was getting arrested for a case that owes six to 30 years [in prison],” she said.

Allen, led away in handcuffs, was three months pregnant at the time.

Allen is one of 88 people who say they were framed by corrupt ex-Chicago Police Sgt. Ronald Watts and his tactical team. Cook County prosecutors have wiped out 109 convictions connected to Watts and his team. Brandishing 10 volumes of “evidence,” attorney Josh Tepfer said Tuesday that it’s past time for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to do the same for the 88.

Attorneys this week filed a petition that seeks a judge’s order to force Foxx’s office to take action on 100 cases connected to the 88 petitioners.

“And we have barely scratched the surface of trying to undo the corruption and the framing and the misconduct that ran roughshod for a decade at this site and the surrounding areas,” Tepfer said at the corner of 37th Street and South King Drive where the Ida B. Wells Homes once stood.

Tepfer said the state’s attorney’s office has had the material, in some cases, for years. “It’s time for a full accounting of justice.”

Watts and Kallatt Mohammed led a tactical unit in the Ida B. Wells Homes and carried on a side business shaking down drug dealers and residents, using the threat of arrest to extort money and drugs. Watts and Mohammed were hit with federal charges in 2012 after they were recorded taking $5,200 from an informant in an FBI sting operation.

Watts and Mohammed were convicted of theft of government funds. Watts was sentenced to 22 months in prison; Mohammed to 18 months.

“The Cook County state’s attorney’s office is continuing to review cases tied to former CPD Sgt. Watts individually. We are unable to comment on specific cases at this time due to our ongoing investigation of these matters,” a spokeswoman for Foxx’s office said in a statement.

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