Chicago Police Board fires cop tied to Special Operations Section scandal nearly two decades ago

Officer Thomas Sherry was found guilty of submitting false reports after two raids conducted by the SOS on July 27, 2004, on the Northwest Side.

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A Chicago police squad car

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The Chicago Police Board on Thursday voted to fire an officer nearly two decades after he became embroiled in one of the Chicago Police Department’s biggest scandals.

Officer Thomas Sherry, a former member of the disgraced and disbanded Special Operations Section, was found guilty of submitting false reports after two raids by the SOS on July 27, 2004, on the Northwest Side.

According to the disciplinary charges, which were filed in November 2020, Sherry and other SOS officers searched an apartment in the 3900 block of North California without a warrant and confiscated drugs.

Later that day, Sherry and the officers searched another home without a warrant in the 2200 block of North Harlem Avenue, the charges state. Sherry then submitted false reports about the searches and recovery of narcotics during the raid.

But the police board Thursday said there wasn’t enough evidence to find Sherry guilty of illegally searching those residences, according to the document outlining the board’s decision.

Throughout testimony before the police board earlier this year, Sherry maintained that he did not go into the apartment on California but stayed at the front door/foyer area of the residence, the document states. He also testified that he didn’t conduct a search of the home on Harlem.

The raids included corrupt former Chicago cop Jerome Finnigan, who was eventually sent to federal prison.

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

Sherry remained stripped of his police powers and was assigned to the department’s Alternate Response Section, which is staffed by officers who have been stripped of police powers and others who are not medically cleared for full duty.

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

In 2018, Sherry filed a federal lawsuit against the CPD, seeking back pay and claiming he hadn’t been granted an administrative hearing to clear his name.

The suit 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.

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