Two Chicago police officers accused of manufacturing false testimony to help them steal cash and drugs made their first appearances in federal court on Thursday.
Defense attorney Michael Petro says Chicago police officer David Salgado is a decorated 15-year veteran of the force who did not team up with Sergeant Xavier Elizondo to steal cash and drugs from West Side homes. Sergeant Elizondo supervised a gang squad out in the 10th district on the Southwest Side.
Prosecutors say that he and Salgado used false testimony from confidential police informants to obtain search warrants and then illegally seized cash and drugs from properties. They allegedly paid off the informants with cigarettes and drugs they had seized.
“If you look at the indictment, it looks like they are drug users and things along those lines, so we're talking about people who are just unreliable, that are making allegations against my client who has been serving and protecting for fifteen years at this point,” Petro said.
When these charges were first announced two weeks ago, superintendent Eddie Johnson said that if these allegations are true, the officers are a disgrace to the police department.
“Today's charges and allegations undermine the sacred meaning of the star that each of us wears,” Johnson said.
In court, both officers entered pleas of not guilty. Their attorneys said they've been stripped of their police powers and their weapons, and are working at the 311 center while out on bond. Sergeant Elizondo's attorney declined comment after the hearing. David Salgado's attorney focused on the likely government's witnesses.
“The jury is going to be able to hear what poor characters these people are, and they're going to find my client not guilty,” Petro said.