More allegations of Evergreen Park police gun shakedown arise - Fox 2 News Headlines

More allegations of Evergreen Park police gun shakedown arise

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Evergreen Park's Chief of Police says he has no evidence his department did anything wrong, after several more men have complained about a bizarre tactic they say officers are using to get guns off the streets.

FOX 32 News first told you about this last week.

It started with Michael Holton, 44, who told us last week that after Evergreen Park Police busted him for driving on a suspended license, they offered him a deal: if he could find them a gun, they would get his car out of the pound for free. After that story aired, our phone started ringing.

"Same thing. Exact same thing. Down to the T," said Ken Carter.

Just like Holton, Carter says he was pulled over for driving on a suspended license in Evergreen Park, taken back to the station, and told by an officer that police would waive the $600 impound fee if he could find a gun, and drop it in a nearby dumpster. And just like Holton, Carter says he actually gave it some serious thought.

"When I left the station, I actually was thinking about, you know, what can I do? But then I talked to my grandmother, and she told me right off, no, uh uh, it don't sound right, don't do it," he said.

Jose Cortez, also of Chicago, says the same thing happened to him.

"I was shocked because I have no criminal history whatsoever," Cortez said.

But a public school administrator, who didn't want to be identified, took it one step further. He says he actually did get a gun--from a friend-- and dropped it in a dumpster police specified just over the border in the City of Chicago. He says police gave him a throw-away phone, to stay in contact with him the whole time.

"They went to the dumpster, they took photographs, and then went back to Evergreen Park and I was able to retrieve my vehicle," he said.

Four guys, all with jobs and all minorities, all telling essentially the same story, including details we didn't share in our original report, including the name of one officer involved in three of the incidents.

Evergreen Park Police Chief Michael Saunders dismissed the allegations.

"If they have a legitimate concern, they should feel free to come in and make a complaint, or go to the Cook County State's Attorneys office. But at this point in time, I don't have any evidence that my department has committed any wrongdoing," Saunders said.

Criminal defense lawyer Don Ramsell, who specializes in traffic cases, calls the tactic "vigilante justice."

"What they're doing here is they're trading one crime for the performance of another," Ramsell said. "It's just a dangerous situation, and eventually somebody will get hurt."

The men who spoke with FOX 32 all believe they were stopped because of the color of their skin. While a couple had brushes with the law in the past, none had been in any serious criminal trouble.

The police chief says his department has strong policies against racial profiling and welcomes any investigation into their practices.

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