The Chicago Police Board has Fired an Officer who was Involved in the Special Operations Section Scandal
The Chicago Police Board finally discharged a member of the Special Operations Section of the Chicago Police Department on Thursday, more than 16 years after he was initially accused of misbehavior.
Officer Thomas Sherry, who had been assigned desk duty for over a decade and had been placed on no-pay status in 2021, was fired by a 5-1 decision of the board members. An executive on the board declared that she could not participate in the voting because of personal reasons.
Attorney Paul Geiger has announced his intention to file an appeal to the Cook County Circuit Court against the board’s decision within the next 35 days on behalf of his client Sherry.
Sherry’s lawyer, Paul Geiger, stated after the police board’s judgment was revealed, “This is an individual who was unfairly arrested, who was wrongly placed in purgatory by the police department for almost ten years.”
Sherry faced administrative charges after he allegedly provided false paperwork
Geiger elaborated, saying, “There’s no victim.” No general public member has ever complained that Officer Tom Sherry wronged them. No officer has ever told me that Tom Sherry was responsible for my misfortune.
Sherry faced administrative charges after he allegedly provided false paperwork regarding an unauthorized search of a Northwest Side condominium in July 2004.
“I did not engage in search of the apartment,” Sherry testified during his evidentiary hearing earlier this year.
Sherry, who has been a member of the CPD since 1997, said that he did not sign any of the documents the city was citing as evidence.
Sherry “knew precisely what was happening, and he understood exactly what he was doing when he authored a phony inventory report,” said Katherine Hill, an attorney who represented the CPD at the hearing.
Once an elite section of the CPD, the Special Operations Section was abolished in 2007 after it was discovered that some officers had been using the unit as a heist squad, breaking into people’s homes and taking thousands of dollars from both criminals and innocent bystanders.
Thirteen SOS personnel were charged with crimes related to the affair, and two of them (chief Jerome Finnigan and officer Keith Herrera) were convicted and sentenced to jail terms.
After pleading guilty to a murder-for-hire plan and tax evasion in 2011, Finnigan was given a 12-year jail sentence by a federal judge. It’s been over three years since he was freed from federal prison.
Sherry was one of thirteen SOS officers charged with crimes
Overall, eleven SOS policemen admitted guilt. Three years after the charges were filed and he was suspended without pay, in 2009, the prosecution withdrew all criminal charges against Sherry and another officer.
The decision to withdraw the charges was reportedly based in part on inaccurate witness identifications of the two cops, according to news accounts at the time. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, which was looking into CPD misconduct, was consulted before the decision was reached, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
According to Geiger, federal prosecutors even sent a letter to Sherry telling him he was “not a target” of their investigation. In 2018, Sherry sued the city, claiming that the delayed inquiry violated his constitutional rights. In the last year, when Sherry’s allegations with the police board were filed, the lawsuit was dismissed by a federal judge.
Sherry told WGN last year that he felt the police board accusations were the CPD’s way of punishing him for bringing the case. Sherry speculated that the action was motivated by malice. The fact that I wouldn’t just lie down and disappear into the night makes me assume it was done out of spite.