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09-21-06, 10:30 AM #1
Chicago officers accused of shaking down drug dealers released
September 20, 2006 (CHICAGO) - The last two of four Chicago police officers accused of shaking down drug dealers were released from jail Wednesday after a judge ruled that their bail money came from legitimate sources.
Jerome Finnigan, Keith Herrera and two other officers, all members of a special unit devoted to gang and drug crimes, are accused of using their police badges to intimidate and steal from Chicago residents.
A judge ruled Wednesday that money Herrera and Finnigan wanted to use to post bail was not obtained through illicit means and could therefore be used to secure their release, the Cook County state's attorney's office said.
They were released after relatives posted $300,000 for each man, the Chicago Tribune reported on its Web site. The two other officers already had been released following similar rulings.
The four men were arrested Sept. 7 and face multiple charges including armed violence, home invasion, aggravated kidnapping and delivery of a controlled substance.
Prosecutors have said they sought to steal money and illegal narcotics from drug dealers.
More than two dozen pending criminal cases have been dropped after being deemed "tainted" by the officers' involvement, including a case against two men arrested last fall when police seized $15 million worth of cocaine.
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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