An internal Chicago Police Department investigation is underway to determine whether at least six officers gave false court testimony, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The probe stems from a Tribune investigative article that spotlighted more than a dozen cases in which judges found that police officers lied or gave apparently false testimony.
At the center of the controversy is a case involving Officer Jorge Martinez, which the Tribune examined closely in its report. The newspaper said its article led police officials to examine his courtroom testimony in a narcotics case, and now the department is considering whether to remove him from duty.
Martinez testified that he and other officers abandoned their drug surveillance operation when they observed a minivan driver fail to signal a right turn. The officer said they seized a $50,000 brick of cocaine during the stop.
Both the defense attorney and the judge expressed doubt that the special unit would abandon covert drug surveillance to conduct a routine traffic stop. The judge threw out the evidence, and the prosecutor dismissed the charges, according to the Tribune.
A police spokesman told the newspaper that the Department “takes allegations of perjury very seriously.” He also stated that police investigators are reviewing the courtroom testimony of other officers, unrelated to the Martinez case.
The Tribune said the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office filed a disclosure notice against Martinez. It notifies defense attorneys that the court has determined a potential witness has committed perjury or given apparently false testimony.
Prosecutors could file notices in other cases in which Martinez was a witness.
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty