Three former police officers of the Chicago Police Department have come out alleging to have evidence of ingrained corruption in the department. The lawsuit, filed in Chicago Federal Court involves long-term partners Shannon Spalding and Daniel Echeverria.
It all started four years ago when the two were involved in investigations against corrupt officers in the Narcotics Department. In 2012, Sgt. Ronald Watts and Kallat Mohammed, a Police Officer, were accused of suspected harassment of stealing proceeds found on drug dealers.
Though widespread, cases of corruption are handled in hushed tones for fear of retaliation. Spalding reported a general sense of dread that holds back many from speaking up.
A sure way to suffer ostracism and punishment is to report corruption cases. Some officers have approached Spalding asking for guidance on whether to report fraud cases, but she is quite candid with them, reporting will no doubt have an effect on their career, so it is up to them to make the decision.
Janet Hanna, a former officer, now retired is in support of the case, citing evidence of ill-treatment of the two fore mentioned officers. She has provided an affidavit as proof of sincerity. When Spalding and Echeverria came into the department, the Human Square headquarters Commander informed Hanna that the two were ‘IAD (Internal Affairs Rats)’ and concurrently, they were only assigned wild goose chase jobs that lead to no arrests.
Spalding also lamented to have experienced harassment on a daily basis. Her freedom, life and safety were in danger. It is no wonder then that Hanna claims to have overheard the Sergeant cautioning Spalding to wear a bullet proof vest on one occasion. Reason, he would not be pleased to have to inform Spalding’s daughter of her death; thus, she had to be in charge of her safety.
The overall unspoken code was no backup would be provided should the two ever need backup. This is indeed a high price to pay for looking in too deep to the closed system, which encourages tolerance for corruption from the top all the way down.
Though retired now, Hanna felt that at the time she was in the force, she had no one to go to report cases of corruption to since even the supervisors were corrupt.
Police Supt Gary McCarthy, in a statement, said that the CPD and he supported those who came forward to report corruption. He added that none should fear retaliation. Concerning the case of the two officers, his statement claimed it had no basis and litigation of the case would be stepped up.
There was no comment from the Department of the Law, Chicago City even though it is representing the two officers.