The real story on corrupt cop Ronald Watts

There was no woke mob conspiring against Watts, the former police sergeant responsible for one of the city’s worst cases of police corruption.

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Former Chicago Police Sgt. Ronald Watts leaves the Dirksen Federal Building in 2013 after receiving a 22 month sentence for his role in an FBI undercover sting. Last week Watts spoke publicly for the first time since his conviction. 

Former Chicago Police Sgt. Ronald Watts leaves the Dirksen Federal Building in 2013 after receiving a 22 month sentence for his role in an FBI undercover sting. Last week Watts spoke publicly for the first time since his conviction.

Kevin Tanaka/Chicago Sun-Times

To hear convicted felon and former cop Ronald Watts tell it, as he did in a recent interview, everyone else is to blame for his corruption.

Watts is the disgraced former Chicago police sergeant responsible for one of the city’s worst cases of police corruption. He and his team of officers shook down alleged drug dealers in the Ida B. Well housing projects, planted evidence and falsely arrested innocent residents on drug charges. The end result: Over 200 wrongful convictions that were eventually tossed out or vacated.

That’s a feat in Cook County, known for its checkered history with criminal justice and official corruption.

Yet you won’t hear any of that in Watts’ recent interview with right-wing online streaming service BlazeTV, which WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell reported on last week.

Editorial

Editorial

Watts victimized the innocent, but you’ll hear no admission of that in his self-serving interview with a former sports columnist, Jason Whitlock.

Watts forced the justice system to spend time and money investigating his corruption and then making matters right. He destroyed the reputation of former members of his unit. And as a textbook example of cop gone wrong, Watts made it harder on good police officers trying to do right by the communities they serve.

For years after he got out of prison in 2015, Watts was silent. It’s anyone’s guess why he decided to talk now, and blame his guilty plea and 22-month stint in federal prison on people who want to “defund the police” and undermine law enforcement.

Watts shouldn’t be able to say that without being challenged, aggressively. Every media report on Watts should fully explain the crimes he committed. We’d hate to think people unfamiliar with Watts’ record would fall for his claim that he was some kind of victim.

Watts can try and blame an “anti-police atmosphere,” involving everyone from federal investigators to prosecutors to journalists and liberal universities, for his woes.

The truth is simple: There was no woke mob at work here, just a bad cop.

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