Detective Who Cost Taxpayers $17M After He framed 11 People is Being Sued by 9 More

Reynaldo Guevara

The controversy surrounding former Chicago police Detective Reynaldo Guevara heated up Monday as one man who claimed he was framed for a murder won a new trial and another filed a federal lawsuit alleging Guevara fabricated evidence against him in a 1995 gang-related slaying in Logan Square.

Both cases involved suspects who alleged Guevara manipulated lineups and other witness identifications to finger them for killings that they did not commit.

Between them, the men spent more than 45 years behind bars.

They’re the latest among a growing number of cases alleging the now-retired Guevara ran a widespread corruption racket in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods on the West and Northwest sides, pinning false murder cases on suspects, shaking down drug dealers for protection money and even taking payments from gang members to change the outcomes of police lineups.

So far, 18 men have had their convictions thrown out over allegations of misconduct by Guevara — including 11 in the past two years — and many others are pushing prosecutors to have their cases reheard, records show.

There are also eight pending wrongful conviction lawsuits against Guevara, while two others brought years ago have already cost taxpayers nearly $17 million in settlements.

The first development Monday came in a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, where Cook County prosecutors announced they’d agreed to a new trial for Robert Bouto in the 1993 shooting of Salvador Ruvalcaba near Roosevelt High School in Albany Park.

Two eyewitnesses who identified Bouto as the gunman at his 1996 trial later said police manipulated them into fingering Bouto. One witness said Guevara told him which person to pick out of a lineup and threatened that he would make life “very uncomfortable” if he did not cooperate, according to a court filing from Bouto’s attorneys.

An inquiry into Guevara’s cases conducted at the city’s request by former U.S. Attorney Scott Lassar concluded that Bouto was likely innocent, along with a handful of others. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx vowed before taking office in 2016 that she would take a closer look at Bouto’s case.

Bouto, who spent about 23 years in prison before his release in 2015, is expected back in court in late May. However, his attorney is hopeful prosecutors will ultimately drop the charges against him altogether.

“I’m mad,” said Bouto, who was cheered by a crowd of supporters as he walked out of the courthouse Monday. “I had to do 22 ½ years, lost my youth, time with my family. But right now it’s a joyful day.”

His attorney, Russell Ainsworth, told reporters that “every single case” Guevara was involved in needs to be reinvestigated.

“It does not end here,” Ainsworth said. “There are so many other innocent men who still remain in prison.”

Meanwhile, in his lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Thomas Sierra accused Guevara of essentially fabricating a murder case against him after Noel Andujar was fatally shot in 1995 in the 2600 block of North Kedzie Avenue.

Though the two men who were with Andujar told detectives they did not get a good look at the gunman, Guevara homed in on Sierra after linking him to a Buick that vaguely matched a description of the gunman’s car that the detective had seen driving around the neighborhood days earlier, according to the suit.

Sierra, who was 19 at the time and had no criminal record, was brought in for questioning.

Detectives “rigged the identification procedures with the sole purpose of framing” Sierra, the suit said

In a hearing before Sierra’s 1997 trial, one of the witnesses, Alberto Rodriguez, testified that detectives told him the gunman was “probably the guy in these pictures,” then handed over photos for him to view, according to a filing from Sierra’s attorneys.

The other witness, Jose Melendez, testified at trial that he identified Sierra as the gunman after Guevara “pointed to a picture and told him to pick that person,” the filing alleged. Melendez said he had made the false identification because he was angry his friend had been fatally shot, according to the records.

Guevara and the other officers who testified at trial denied any misconduct.

Sierra was convicted by a jury of murder and later sentenced to 45 years in prison. He was released on parole in November after serving the required half of his term, records show.

Sierra maintained his innocence throughout his time in prison and filed a petition for a new trial that gained traction as more and more allegations against Guevara were coming to light. Meanwhile, when asked at a 2013 court hearing whether he had framed Sierra, Guevara refused to answer, instead invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself under oath, according to court records.

Weeks before the case had been slated for an evidentiary hearing, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the charges, saying they were unable to meet their burden of proving Sierra guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

“I served 22 ½ years for something I didn’t do,” Sierra, 41, told reporters on the day his case was dropped. “It’s still, you know, unreal right now.”

In case after case, Guevara has repeatedly refused to testify when asked under oath about allegations of wrongdoing. When forced to take the stand last year in a case involving two men who accused him of abuse, he gave testimony so muddled that Judge James Obbish accused him of “bald-faced lies” and said he had lost all credibility as a witness.

In addition to wrongdoing by Guevara, the lawsuits pending in federal court have alleged that his corruption was aided at every step by others in the criminal justice system, from fellow cops to friendly prosecutors, judges and even defense attorneys who turned a blind eye to how Guevara went about his police work.

Guevara has also been linked to corrupt former gang crimes Officer Joseph Miedzianowski, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2001 for running a massive Miami-to-Chicago drug distribution ring with several of the street gangs he was supposed to be investigating.

In a lawsuit filed earlier this month, Jose Maysonet alleged Guevara framed him for a double murder after he stopped paying Guevara and Miedzianowski $1,000 a week in exchange for protection from arrest in his drug operations.

According to a 2001 FBI report, one of Miedzianowski’s co-defendants told investigators Guevara was well-known in the neighborhood for arresting gun and drug dealers and then letting them “buy their way out of trouble.”

The FBI report — which was made public as part of a federal suit against Guevara — also said that Guevara had been paid tens of thousands of dollars in kickbacks to make murder cases go away.

Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-new-trial-lawsuit-detective-guevara-20180430-story.html

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 4763 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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