Blistering COPA Report Points to Wider Chicago Police Scandal Beyond Disgraced Sgt. Ronald Watts

Chicago Office of Police Accountability (COPA) Stonewalled Release of Report Until FOIA Suit by Watts’ Victims

Report calls one cop’s conduct “blatant contempt for the principles of justice, his oath, and the rule of law.”

CHICAGO, IL — A blistering report from the City of Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) recommending the firing of Alvin Jones, a core member of Ronald Watts’ corrupt police team, was finally released today following a FOIA suit. A copy of the report is here.

The report concerns the wrongful arrest and conviction of Clarissa Glenn and Ben Baker on December 11, 2005. A decade later, in the fall of 2016, Baker and Glenn were exonerated and certified innocent, and Baker was released from prison. Over the next six years, approximately 250 drug convictions tied to Watts and his corrupt team have been overturned. There are over 80 lawsuits pending against the City relating to these wrongful convictions, a number that is expected nearly to double in the coming months.

COPA submitted the Report to the Police Superintendent in March 2021 but the City refused to disclose it publicly. Last year, Ms. Glenn and another Watts victim, Jason Brown, sued under the Freedom of Information Act for release of the Report. On July 12, 2022, the Honorable Judge Eve M. Reilly ordered the City to disclose it by August 9, 2022. The City did not comply with the court order either, and Ms. Glenn and Mr. Brown filed a motion asking the City be held in contempt of court and for monetary sanctions. In response, the City released the Report today.

The 33-page single spaced report meticulously documents the false testimony of Jones and another Watts’ team officer, Elsworth Smith, in multiple matters. Jones and Smith falsely claimed to witness not only the Baker/Glenn arrest on December 11, 2005, but an entirely different arrest at a different location at the exact same time. COPA’s investigators spoke to the other arrestees, who corroborated Baker and Glenn’s long-time allegations that Watts, Jones, and other members of his team planted drugs on them and lied about it.

Despite ten years’ worth of allegations regarding Jones’ day-to-day partnership with Watts in this criminal enterprise, in 2014, the City of Chicago promoted Jones to Sergeant.

In recommending Jones’ firing, COPA concluded that Jones’ “conduct demonstrates blatant contempt for the principles of justice, his oath, and the rule of law.”

COPA is an agency of the City of Chicago. Despite the damning conclusion in this report by one arm of the City, another arm of the City continues to fight lawsuits brought by Baker, Glenn, and other Watts victims, paying millions of dollars in legal fees to defend Jones and other officers.

The Watts victims are represented by Attorneys from Loevy & Loevy and the Law Office of Kenneth Flaxman LLP.

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