A History of Brutality, Racism,
and Corruption in the

The War on Drugs
and Police Corruption

On December 20, 1996, seven officers in the Chicago Police Department's tactical unit were indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly stealing and extorting $65,000 from undercover FBI agents posing as West Side drug dealers

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Dubbed the "Austin Seven" after the largest neighborhood in the 15th district tactical unit, the officers have been charged with 21 separate counts of conspiracy to commit robbery and extortion, and illegal use of firearms.

The indicted officers are Gregory S. Crittleton, 31; Edward Lee "Pacman" Jackson Jr., 26; M.L. Moore, 48; Alex D. Ramos, 31; Lennon Shields, 29; Cornelius Tripp, 34; and James P. Young, 30. They have been with the Chicago Police Department from two to nine years. Another man who is not a police officer, 25-year-old Charles Vaughn, was charged with one count of committing robbery along with the seven officers.

Drugs reportedly were found in the police locker of four of the indicted officers, and a picture in "Pacman" Jackson's locker showed him "throwing" the hand signal of a street gang called the Conservative Vice Lords. Jackson is alleged to be a leader of the gang.

"They were not only acting as cops, they were acting as robbers," U.S. Attorney James Burns stated at a press conference. Police Superintendent Matt Rodriguez called the defendants "traitors to their profession" and "brazenly corrupt."

No one thinks that these are the only "traitors." The Austin 7 is just one more chapter in a never-ending story.



While Chicago Police corruption was well-known in the Capone, days, by the early 1970s, drugs had taken the place of moonshine. The first major scandal was the "Marquette Ten," 10 police officers in the Marquette District convicted for taking bribes from drug dealers.

Current Police Commissioner Phil Cline worked undercover as a crooked cop in 1980 and arrested west side drug lord, C.W. Wilson. Wilson later turned states evidence and helped secure convictions of ten cops who were on his payroll.

There are too many cases of police corruption to fit in this page. Joseph Miedzianowski is notable in that he was convicted in 2003 of running a drug operation while a Chicago police officer. His appeal has been denied. Read a chilling transcript of him talkin gabout his real job was to "steal, steal, steal."

Or this Sun-Times special report on the Shakespeare Northwest Side Police District where over 20 officers were under investigation for gang involvement (coming soon)

Chicago Cop pleads guilty will testify on police corruption