Chicago corruption bust dismays, but doesn’t surprise, residents of hard bitten neighborhood

Seven members of the Chicago Police Department’s tactical unit assigned to the Austin area have been charged with robbing and extorting more than $65,000 from undercover agents they believed to be drug dealers.

The Austin Seven, as they are being called, were captured after a year-long investigation. In one holdup, they allegedly stole expensive jewelry and $25,000 in cash from a phony drug dealer’s “safe house,” said Police Supt. Matt Rodriguez.

Residents of Austin, one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods, were dismayed but not surprised by the recent revelations.

Leola Spann, president of a community group, had worked closely with police for a number of years to try and clean up the drug- and crime-ravaged area. For years, she said, she had heard stories about police planting evidence on suspects, stealing money from drug dealers and acting like gang members when on patrol.

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Excerpted from Law Enforcement News
Jan 31, 1997. 
© 1997, LEN Inc.  [ Subscribe.]