From 2011 to 2013, 45-year old Robert Vaughan robbed 8 drug dealers of cocaine, marijuana and contraband cigarettes. He earned a profit of $300,000. Vaughan conducted the robberies in Chicago, Cicero, Plainfield, Lyons, Melrose Park, and Forest Park, Illinois. Maybe this would not be news if not but for the fact that Vaughan was a police officer with the Cook County Sheriff’s Department when he committed the robberies along with two other law enforcement officers. Vaughan admitted to the crime in a plea agreement. On April 13, 2016, Vaughan was sentenced to 7 and a half years in federal prison.
In his argument for sentencing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sunil Harjani wrote;
“This is the type of crime one would expect to only see on a television show. The crimes were brazen, arrogant and detrimental to the citizens of this district. While the victims of the offense in this case garner no sympathy – they are drug dealers and contraband traffickers – it cannot excuse the outrageous conduct by Vaughan, who committed robberies using his badge and gun.”
“The linkage between racism and CPD did not just bubble up in the aftermath of the release of the
McDonald video. Racism and maltreatment at the hands of the police have been consistent complaints from communities of color for decades. And there have been many significant flashpoints over the years—the killing of Fred Hampton (1960s), the Metcalfe hearings (1970s), federal court findings of a pattern and practice of discriminatory hiring (1970s), Jon Burge and his midnight crew (1970s to 1990s), widespread disorderly conduct arrests (1980s), the unconstitutional gang loitering ordinance (1990s), widespread use of investigatory stops and frisks (2000s) and other points. False arrests, coerced confessions and wrongful convictions are also a part of this history. Lives lost and countless more damaged. These events and others mark a long, sad history of death, false imprisonment, physical and verbal abuse and general discontent about police actions in neighborhoods of color.”
The above quote is from page 7 of the 22 page Police Accountability Task Force Executive Summary that addresses problems and makes suggestions for the Chicago Police Department. While the Task Force was gathering data and making suggestions, Chicago had the case of Michael Williamson. The Williamson case demonstrates that false arrests, and coerced confessions are not just history, but ongoing in Chicago. Read the rest of this entry