The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office on Monday released a list of 174 current and former law enforcement officers who will not be called to testify in court proceedings.
Cook County’s “Do Not Call” list is largely made up of officers whose alleged misconduct so damaged their credibility that they would be a liability for prosecutors on the witness stand. A large majority – 120 – are members of the Chicago Police Department.
Several of the Chicago officers, including Jason Van Dyke, Ronald Watts and Jeffrey Kriv, faced criminal charges themselves.
“The culture that allowed disreputable law enforcement officers to testify in court has propelled Cook County’s reputation as the wrongful conviction capital of the nation,” the state’s attorney said, Kim Foxx, in a statement. “Publishing our do not call list and updating our internal policy regarding witness disclosure are necessary steps to improve the integrity of the office in prosecutions and help restore public confidence in our criminal justice system.”
The list is a byproduct of two landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases that require prosecutors to hand over all evidence, both incriminating and exculpatory, to defendants.
The list has nearly tripled since last February when, as part of a lawsuit, the state’s attorney’s office said in court documents that 66 officers would not be called to testify, but that was not disclosed. when these officers were added to the list.
The list released Monday, however, suggests that dozens of officers were omitted from the state attorney’s disclosure earlier this year. Meanwhile, since March 1, at least more than 19 officers — again mostly from the Chicago Police Department — have been deemed too risky to be called to testify.
Among those newly added officers are Robert Bakker, a CPD officer with ties to the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, and Reynaldo Guevara, a former CPD detective linked to dozens of bogus felony convictions. Both were added to the list on May 25, 2023.
Another notable recent addition to the list is a CPD officer who was shot in the arm May 31 while off duty on the Near West Side. The officer told police he was shot while driving in a lane in the 2200 block of West Maypole.
Last month, however, the Civilian Police Accountability Office said that “after reviewing third-party video and internal assessment, it is unclear and has not yet been determined that the officer was fired first”.
The officer was placed on the “Do Not Call” list a day after the shooting.