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Dorian Walls

Summary of Watts Scandal
On July 4, 2004, 21-year-old Christopher Farris and 24-year-old Dorian Walls were going to meet friends at the Ida B. Wells public housing development in Chicago, Illinois, to go to a Fourth of July party. However, when they arrived, Chicago Police Sgt. Ronald Watts and members of his unit stopped them.

Although nothing illegal was found, Watts told Farris that he was going to jail. Farris told Watts that his uncle was a Chicago police officer. Watts let Farris go, but arrested Walls.

Walls later said, “He told me I was going to jail. I tried to complain to him that I hadn’t done anything wrong and he told me to shut my mouth. He had his officers put me in one of their cars and they took me to the police station.”

At the station, Walls heard an officer tell Watts that he confiscated $32 from Walls. “I don’t want that, he’s going to jail,” Watts replied. Walls was charged with possession of 47 baggies of crack cocaine.

On August 22, 2005, Walls pled guilty in Cook County Circuit Court to possession of cocaine. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

In 2012, Watts and a fellow officer, Kallatt Mohammed, were caught on tape stealing money from a man they believed was a drug courier, but who was in fact working as a confidential FBI informant. In 2013, Watts and Mohammed pled guilty in U.S. District Court to taking money from the informant. Mohammed was sentenced to 18 months in prison, and Watts was sentenced to 22 months in prison.

Federal prosecutors said Watts “used his badge and his position as a sergeant with the Chicago Police Department to shield his own criminal activity from law enforcement scrutiny. He recruited another CPD officer into his crimes, stealing drug money and extorting protection payments from the drug dealers who terrorized the community that he [Watts] had sworn to protect.”

In 2006, Ben Baker was convicted twice—once alone and a second time with his wife, Clarissa Glenn, on charges of narcotics possession based on false testimony from Watts. In 2015, Joshua Tepfer, an attorney at the Exoneration Project at the University of Chicago Law School, filed a petition to vacate Baker’s first conviction, citing the corruption of Watts and his unit. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office’s Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) agreed in January 2016 that Baker’s first conviction should be vacated, and the petition was granted. Later in 2016, a petition filed on behalf of Baker and Glenn also was granted.

Beginning in December 2016, Tepfer and attorney Joel Flaxman filed motions to vacate the convictions of dozens of men and women who claimed they were falsely convicted based on the corruption of Watts and his team. “The full known scope of the corrupt, more-than-decade-long criminal enterprise of Sergeant Watts…shows that Sergeant Watts led a tactical team of Chicago police officers that engaged in systematic extortion, bribery, and other related crimes…from as far back as the late 1990s through 2012,” their motions said.

The CIU began investigating the cases and agreed that the convictions should be vacated and dismissed. By 2018, more than 50 convictions tainted by Watts and members of his unit had been dismissed.

The day after Walls had been charged, Watts had arrested Christopher Farris. Farris also had been framed, pled guilty, and was exonerated in February 2020.

On April 22, 2020, Walls’s conviction, along with convictions of more than 40 other people framed by Watts and his fellow officers, was vacated and dismissed following an investigation by the CIU. The dismissals brought the total number of dismissed convictions to more than 200. Walls subsequently received a certificate of innocence, and was awarded $60,000 in compensation from the state of Illlinois. In October 2022, Walls filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Chicago.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 4/27/2022
Last Updated: 4/30/2023
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2004
Sentence:3 years
Age at the date of reported crime:24
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No