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Six Chicago Cops May Have Lied Under Oath

By Sophie Lucido Johnson in News on May 12, 2016 5:17PM

As though the Chicago Police Department could get any shadier, as many as six officers may have lied under oath, according a recent Tribune investigation.

The investigation showed more than a dozen examples of officers providing questionable testimonies to authorities, and the police department has now launched an internal investigation into the matter. This scrutiny adds fuel to the ever-swelling argument that the CPD requires a major overhaul—and soon. While the officers under investigation are still on the streets, they may be stripped of their powers very soon.

At least one officer is already likely on the way out: Jorge Martinez's testimony on a narcotics case led to the release of two suspects, according to a judge—a finding that caused the Cook County state's attorney's office to file a so-called disclosure notice on Martinez. A disclosure notice is issued to a criminal defense lawyer to explain that a trial witness has been found to give false testimony. In cases like these, officers are typically stripped of their duties while investigations into whether they lied are ongoing.

Martinez was the only witness in the drug case. According to court documentation acquired by the Tribune, he testified that he saw a minivan fail to signal a right turn, and abandoned a drug surveillance operation because of the infraction. After pulling over Miguel Rodriguez and Antonio Garcia, Martinez said he seized a $50,000 brick of cocaine found inside the van. Lawyers for Rodriguez and Garcia countered that it wasn't credible that members of a special unit would break off drug surveillance to make a traffic stop. Judge William Hooks agreed, and threw out the evidence; prosecutors eventually dismissed the charges.

A transcript of the hearing indicates that Hooks told the prosecutors they should charge Martinez with perjury; he also summoned a supervisor from the state's attorney's office to the next court date. Something went awry, though, because the disclosure notice on Martinez was not sent to the police department until almost four months later, when the Tribune asked about it.

Since a disclosure notice regarding Martinez has been made public, his testimonies in other cases have come into question. At least one defense lawyer has challenged Martinez's credibility regarding a separate case, and he will probably not be alone. The other officers whose testimonies have been brought into question are still under investigation.