A CPD officer is facing misconduct charges 16 years after an alleged incident occurred. Attorneys for the officer say that he should not be fired from the force because it took the city so long to open an investigation. The city moved to fire officer Thomas Sherry after his involvement with the Special Operations Section. The unit was disbanded after charges that they committed home invasions and executed robberies. The unit became a template for hit TV shows such as The Shield. The officers allegedly used armed violence to rob drug dealers or those who they believed were involved in drug trafficking.
Much of the issue surrounding this particular investigation is the fact that Sherry was left uncharged for 16 years. Attorneys for Sherry say that too much time has passed between the incident and the charging to make a valid case. They are not wrong. In 2017, the U.S. Justice Department criticized Chicago PD for delaying disciplinary actions against police officers.
The alleged incidents occurred in 2006 when Sherry was assigned to the Special Operations Section. In 2009, Sherry and another officer faced criminal charges for their involvement with the SOS, but those charges were later dropped when evidence emerged that they had been misidentified. Sherry was placed on desk duty where he remained for nearly a decade before charges were filed against him only recently.
Why Wasn’t Sherry Ever Charged?
The CPD steps in to discipline their own officers in the absence of criminal charges. At the time, Sherry was named as a defendant in several cases. The department likely waited for the criminal charges to run their course before disciplining Sherry themselves. Federal authorities turned the case over to CPD who was supposed to investigate the situation further. However, neither Sherry nor any of the other involved officers were ever interviewed. So Sherry remained at his desk for a decade until now, when CPD finally got around to charging him.
Sherry was assigned to the non-emergency call unit and filed a lawsuit against the City in 2018 seeking to restore his police powers. That is when the department decided to open an investigation concerning Sherry’s conduct with SOS. Sherry’s lawsuit was dismissed, ironically, on the grounds that he had taken too long to file it. The judge presiding over the case noted that Sherry’s situation was not unique and the CPD had a history of mothballing misconduct investigations, apparently, for strategic reasons.
Essentially, Sherry is probably not a good cop, but the department tacitly approved of his methods while he was at SOS until public outcry forced them to crack down on the unit. Then, after the feds turned the investigation over to CPD, the individual assigned to the investigation did literally nothing while Sherry sat at a desk for ten years.
So while the charges against Sherry may be valid, the prosecution is malicious and retaliatory and CPD’s misconduct is perhaps the more egregious, at least that is what the defense will argue.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are a former police officer who has been sitting at a desk for 10 years, then you may need a criminal defense lawyer. Even if your crime is alleged to have happened 16 years prior, call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.