Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara is accused of framing at least 51 people for murder. When a group of mothers, aunts and sisters found that no officials — not the state’s attorney’s office, not the mayor’s office — wanted to take up their cause, the women went in search of justice themselves, reports BuzzFeed News. Next week a man convicted in one of Guevara’s most dubious cases will be in court for what could be his last chance at freedom. Will prosecutors continue fighting to keep Roberto Almodovar behind bars? Guevara is accused of framing people for murders from the 1980s through the early 2000s. His alleged misdeeds led 48 men and one woman to be sentenced to a total of more than 2,300 years in prison. Three were acquitted. Five received life sentences.
The numbers could place Guevara’s alleged misconduct among the most egregious policing betrayals in modern history, alongside the Los Angeles’s 1990s Rampart scandal, when more than 100 convictions were tossed based on police corruption; the crack-era sentences of the 1970s and ‘80s in Brooklyn, when dozens of defendants accused Detective Louis Scarcella of manufacturing evidence against them; and in Chicago, where during the ‘70s and ‘80s, former Commander Jon Burge led a team of detectives to beat — and even electrocute — more than 100 men, most of them black, into confessions. In the Guevara case, Chicago’s police brass, prosecutors, judges, police oversight commissions, and federal authorities had ample warnings about Guevara, but did not act. In 2013, faced with exonerations of Guevara defendants and the possibility of many civil lawsuits seeking large payouts, the city ordered an independent review of Guevara cases, and, in 2015, determined that four imprisoned men were more than likely innocent. The new chief prosecutor in Chicago, Kim Foxx, has launched a review of Guevara’s cases.