The ex-Chicago police officer convicted of killing Laquan McDonald, an officer accused of breaching the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection and a former sergeant connected to dozens of convictions that have been tossed out are among the dozens of names Cook County prosecutors say they will not call to testify in criminal cases.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx on Monday released her office’s “Do Not Call List” — which she said includes a collection of “disreputable” law enforcement officers who have “propelled Cook County’s reputation as the wrongful conviction capital of the country.”
“Releasing our ‘Do Not Call List’ and updating our internal policy regarding witness disclosure are necessary steps to improve the office’s prosecutorial integrity and help rebuild public trust in our criminal justice system,” Foxx said in a statement.
According to Foxx, the list allows the public to view the names of officers who won’t be called as witnesses by the State’s Attorney’s Office. Officers can be added to that list for multiple reasons, including: current and past conduct investigations, allegations of misconduct and being stripped of police powers.
The list published Monday included the names of: Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2014 killing of teen Laquan McDonald; Karol Chwiesiuk, who allegedly texted a friend that he wanted to “f--k up some commies” before participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection; and Ronald Watts, whose alleged misconduct has led to numerous criminal exonerations.
Also on the list are Reynaldo Guevara, who has been accused of routinely framing suspects and lying under oath, and Xavier Elizondo and David Salgado, who were convicted of obtaining fraudulent warrants and stealing cash and drugs from properties they searched.
The full list is available to view here.
According to the National Registry of Exonerations, Illinois has led the nation in criminal exonerations in each of the past five years. Many of those exonerations are tied to Watts and Guevara.
WGN published a previous version of the list earlier this year after it was obtained as part of a lawsuit brought about following allegations that Foxx’s office had violated the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Monday’s announcement comes as part of the prosecutor’s “Brady Giglio” policy — which is named for a pair of landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases — which requires assistant state’s attorneys to conduct a thorough vetting process to determine witness credibility.
ASAs are required to alert both their supervisor and the State’s Attorney’s chief ethics officer when there is evidence questioning the credibility of a government witness.
In addition to the “Do Not Call List,” Foxx’s office will also maintain a “Disclosure List,” which will serve as an internal database for prosecutors and will contain witnesses subject to disclosure due to potentially impeaching material.