In a 'Perry Mason' moment, a video played in court contradicts police officers who testified their drug arrest was proper
April 15, 2014
By Steve Schmadeke
One by one, five police officers took the witness stand at the Skokie courthouse late last month for what would typically be a routine hearing on whether evidence in a drug case was properly obtained.
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But in a "Perry Mason" moment rarely seen inside an actual courtroom, the inquiry took a surprising turn when the suspect's lawyer played a police video that contradicted the sworn testimony of the five officers — three from Chicago and two from Glenview, a furious judge found.
Cook County Circuit Judge Catherine Haberkorn suppressed the search and arrest, leading prosecutors to quickly dismiss the felony charges. All five officers were later stripped of their police powers and put on desk duty pending internal investigations. And the state's attorney's office is looking into possible criminal violations, according to spokeswoman Sally Daly.
"Obviously, this is very outrageous conduct," a transcript of the March 31 hearing quoted the judge, a former county prosecutor, as saying. "All officers lied on the stand today. ... All their testimony was a lie. So there's strong evidence it was conspiracy to lie in this case, for everyone to come up with the same lie. ... Many, many, many, many times they all lied."
All five are veteran officers. Glenview Officer Jim Horn declined to comment Monday, while the other four — Sgt. James Padar and Officers Vince Morgan and William Pruente, all assigned to narcotics for Chicago police, and Glenview Sgt. Theresa Urbanowski — could not be reached for comment.