For a relatively small force of 50-plus officers, the Maywood Police Department sure gets into a lot of trouble.
Consider some of the bigger controversies of recent years:
+ In 2005, then-Maywood Police Officer Arian Wade was caught on tape allegedly tipping off a reputed Gangsters Disciples leader to a raid, and ended up charged with criminal drug conspiracy. Wade was acquitted, and went on to sue the village, claiming he was framed. The lawsuit is pending.
+ In 2007, an unarmed motorist was shot and killed by then-Maywood cop Dwayne Wheeler. Wheeler claimed the man tried to run him down while fleeing a bust; the dead man’s family claimed Wheeler killed him in cold blood. A lawsuit filed by the family against the village was recently settled for $500,000.
+ In 2010, now-former Maywood Police Officer Robert Welch was caught stealing money from suspects during a sting. He was sentenced to probation.
+ In 2010, Maywood’s then-deputy police chief, Brian Black, was involved in a bizarre off-duty incident in which he allegedly pistol-whipped a teenager who rebuffed his “advances.” Black’s supporters say he was framed. The criminal case is pending.
+ In 2012, a Maywood cop resigned from the department amid a misconduct inquiry relating to an on-duty encounter with a woman. As of press time, the just-departed officer has not been charged with a crime.
As sordid as these examples are, the problems in the department likely run deeper.
Several Maywood residents have told reporters stories about being ripped off by on-duty cops in town, including one man who was allegedly beaten by officers. He later sued the village over the incident.
Also, law enforcement sources told the Better Government Association and FOX Chicago there are officers still on the force with ties to street gangs. One reputed gang leader backed up that assertion in an interview, saying that Maywood cops are so corrupt, “You could give me a license plate number now, and I could have a Maywood police officer run it.”
In response, Maywood Police Chief Tim Curry said that not everyone on the force is a “bad apple,” but if people have information about officers doing wrong, “they should come forward.”