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Federal authorities arrest six Chicago police officers for allegedly stealing drugs, money

CHICAGO, USA - OCTOBER 20: People gather in front of the Chicago Police Department where they stage a demonstration following the shooting of Laquan McDonald, 17, shot and killed by police officers 3 years ago, at Michigan Avenue in Chicago, United States on October 20, 2017. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

According to WBBM-TV in Chicago, Federal authorities have arrested six Chicago police officers for allegedly stealing money and drugs from drug dealers.

Sources within the Chicago Police Department told WBBM that the FBI performed at least three separate sting operations, and caught the officers on videotape stealing both money and drugs from dealers during busts and pocketing the proceeds. The officers have been taken into custody and charges are reportedly pending. According to WBBM, as many as 7 officers may have been involved but only 6 have been arrested at this time. On one occasion, a team of officers reportedly took nearly $20,000 in a single robbery. The Chicago Police Department refused to comment on the story.

The Chicago Police Department remains one of the more troubled large-city forces in the country. Chicago city officials, including the police department have been harshly criticized for a recent spike in the city's homicide rate, which saw Chicago become the fourth-deadliest city in America in 2016, behind St. Louis, Baltimore and Detroit.

Chicago's police have also been criticized by criminal justice reform advocates for years for issues related to excessive use of force, lack of internal accountability, and corruption. Numerous studies have shown that the Chicago Police Department has an inordinately high rate of citizen complaints, combined with systematic failure to discipline or even investigate officers who receive dozens of complaints, including several who have ultimately wound up in jail for corruption themselves. One particularly notorious example was officer Jerome Finegan, who was the subject of 68 citizen complaints alleging corruption and/or excessive force. Incredibly, the Chicago Police Department found each and every one of these complaints to be unfounded. Eventually, Finnegan was caught by internal affairs robbing criminal suspects and then attempting to hire a hitman to kill one of his partners because he thought his partner was going to turn him in. He was ultimately sentenced to 12 years in prison for corruption.

The Chicago arrests come on the heels of the explosive ongoing federal court case in Baltimore, in which prosecutors allege that an elite Baltimore PD task force regularly stole guns and money from drug dealers, systematically made false arrests, intimidated witnesses, and billed for fraudulent overtime.

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