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Officer Faces Charges for Manipulating a Lineup to Convict Innocent Man

Authorities allege that a Dixmoor police officer manipulated a police lineup in order to establish charges against a man who was later cleared of wrongdoing. The officer is now facing three felony counts of official misconduct. According to a witness, the officer suggested the correct answer to a witness in the lineup. The suspect was placed into lockup for 18 days. After his release, he pressed charges against the officer. 

According to his attorney, the man went into a store to buy a phone and was suddenly facing a 45-year sentence. Prior, an armed robbery had occurred at the store. An employee thought the man resembled the armed robber. The employee called the police. 

The officer who is now facing charges is accused of telling the witness which individual to pick from the lineup. The employee did as asked and the man was charged with armed robbery, a Class-X felony, the highest you can receive in Illinois. 

It was not until the man went before a judge that he was cleared of wrongdoing. It is unclear how the police became aware that one of their officers suggested the victim to the employee, but it is likely that the employee told police that they were told which individual to pick. Police, to their credit, have charged the fellow officer with official abuse of power and related felonies. The officer may face minimal time behind bars, but he will lose his authority to work as law enforcement and he will have felonies on his record for the remainder of his life. These felonies will prevent him from working under the color of law again. So, that at least will be a win for the victim.

Understanding the Problem

Police work and investigation is hard. We have written extensively recently about how police are focusing on retail theft and crime rings. So, this was exactly the type of crime that was on their radar at the time that the man was arrested. An employee at the store believed that the man looked like a robber, but we know from experience that witness IDs involving cross-racial identifications are not exact. It is much easier to just pin the crime on the first suspect than it is to thoroughly investigate the crime. 

The problem for the police officer was that they did not know who they were arresting at the time. This man happened to own a restaurant with his wife, had an adult child who was a Chicago police officer, and was otherwise a stand-up guy in the community. So, investigating who you are railroading would be the proper procedure to railroad someone, but in this case, the officer could not even be bothered to do that much. Instead, he just pinned the crime on one of the most unlikely suspects, directed a witness to choose them from a lineup, and figured he would get away with it because the defendant’s skin was dark. 

It totally backfired, and now he is out of a job. Dixmoor is now a safer community. As a defense attorney, this is a heartwarming story of vindication and justice. Not everyone owns a restaurant and has a son on the police force.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Lazy police work is one of the most likely reasons that an individual will be charged with a crime they did not commit. Call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment and we can discuss your defense strategy immediately.

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