Newly released report says COPA recommended firing of cop who worked under disgraced Sgt. Ronald Watts
A police oversight agency last year recommended firing a Chicago cop who lied and falsified reports while working under former Sgt. Ronald Watts, who went to prison for corruption, according to a report released Thursday.
The recommendation was the conclusion of a 33-page report compiled by the Chicago Office of Police Accountability that was handed over to Police Supt. David Brown in March 2021 and detailed instances of Officer Alvin Jones’ alleged dishonesty.
The report was made public by the law firm Loevy & Loevy after a lawsuit filed on behalf of Ben Baker and Clarissa Glenn forced the city to release the COPA report.
COPA found that Jones falsified reports against Baker and Glenn, a couple with three children, because Baker — who admitted to dealing drugs — refused to pay “protection” money to Watts and his crew to allow him to deal drugs without interference from police.
Watts, along with Jones and other officers under his command, shook down drug dealers and residents of the now-demolished Ida B. Wells housing project for years.
“Jones enjoyed great official authority and abused it brazenly for his own gain. He violated his oath, public duty, multiple Department Orders, and the trust of other officers and the community he was sworn to protect,” the report said.
Baker was arrested three times in 2004 and 2005. After a trial on drug-related charges in which he laid out his claims of police corruption, Baker was sentenced in 2006 to 14 years in prison. The report found that Jones testified falsely at Baker’s trial.
Glenn was with Baker during one of the arrests and also faced drug charges. She pleaded guilty to stay out of prison to look after the couple’s three sons.
She told investigators that after she and Baker were pulled over by police, she saw Watts pull what appeared to be narcotics from his jacket sleeve. He then claimed to have found them in their SUV.
“COPA’s investigation revealed that Watts and Jones falsely arrested Baker and Glenn, that Jones then falsified related Vice Case Reports and arrest reports in furtherance of the false arrest, that Jones then testified falsely under oath in court hearings regarding the arrests, and that when COPA investigators later questioned him about events related to the arrests, he continued to provide false information,” the report states.
“When confronted with these fabrications, Jones admitted to certain falsehoods and referred to his underlying conduct as an ‘egregious error.’ COPA has determined by a preponderance of the evidence, which includes his own statements and significant corroborating material, that Jones made several willfully false and material statements regarding the Baker and Glenn arrests,” the report states.
The report also determined that Watts and his team targeted Baker and Glenn because they reported the corruption to authorities.
A message seeking comment from the Chicago Police Department was not returned Friday. The city’s law department declined to comment.
“No one would listen. … No one believed me,” Glenn, 50, said Friday at a news conference held in the West Loop.
Baker was released from prison in 2016, exonerated and given a certificate of innocence. Glenn was also exonerated.
Jones, who was stripped of his police powers in June of 2021, resigned from the Chicago Police Department in May with the rank of sergeant.
More than 200 criminal convictions in cases investigated by Watts and his team have been overturned.
“They were putting false cases on people, anybody who got in their way,” attorney Jon Loevy said Friday.
Baker and Glenn have filed a federal lawsuit against the city. About 80 such suits are pending, and Josh Tepfer, an attorney representing Baker and Glenn, expects the number to rise.
Watts and another officer on his team, Kallatt Mohammed, were charged in 2012 after an FBI sting. Both pleaded guilty to federal charges after allegedly stealing $5,000 from an undercover informant. Watts was sentenced to 22 months in prison; Mohammed got 18 months.
No other officers who were part of Watts’ team have been charged criminally.
In 2016, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office concluded it could no longer permit nine former team members to testify in criminal cases due to credibility concerns.
This article was originally published in the Chicago Sun-Times.