5 convictions tied to former CPD Sgt. Watts vacated by Cook County judge

Five convictions connected to corrupt former Chicago Police Sergeant Ronald Watts have been vacated, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx announced Thursday.

Cook County Judge Erica Reddick granted prosecutors' request to vacate the convictions Thursday, making a total of 114 vacated cases involving Watts.

Watts led a police unit for nearly a decade that planted drugs or falsely accused housing project residents and others of drug crimes unless they paid off the officers.


"Evidence is overwhelming that there was routine corruption going on in the Ida B. Wells housing projects by this absolutely rogue Chicago police unit," the victims' attorney, Joshua Tepfer said.

In 2012, Watts pleaded guilty to federal charges after allegedly stealing $5,000 from an undercover informant.

The state’s attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit is reviewing cases connected to Watts after a "pattern of misconduct" revealed concern over his initial arrests and previous convictions.

"As prosecutors, we know that harm was caused, some of it was done by this office, and it is now our duty to make sure that those harms are addressed and never repeated," Foxx said in a statement. "Today is a step towards righting the wrongs of the past and giving these individuals their names back."