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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

NEWS: (Suburban) Former Elgin cop admits to planting evidence

--If you don't have your integrity, you have NOTHING!!--
Duke

Story at Chicago Tribune

By Clifford Ward
Special to the Tribune
12:23 PM CDT, August 15, 2012

A former Elgin police officer who planted evidence in an apparent bid to make himself look better pleaded guilty today to a misdemeanor count of attempted obstruction of justice and was sentenced to 30 days in Kane County Jail.

Michael Sullivan, 54, of Sycamore, was also placed on two years of probation for his actions, which grew out of a battery and robbery investigation in late April last year.

Sullivan, a 10-year veteran, was transporting a man to the police station who had been arrested for allegedly beating another man and robbing his wallet and cell phone.

After turning over the suspect, Sullivan found a cellphone in the back seat of his squad car, police said.

Believing it was the stolen phone, Sullivan returned to the area where other evidence from the crime had been discovered and placed the phone nearby, according to authorities. He then alerted investigators of his “find,” police said.

Several days later, on May 1, 2011, Sullivan confessed his actions and was placed on leave. He quit the force two days later.

At the time Sullivan was charged, Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said that the officer planted the evidence in a bid to polish his reputation and gain an assignment in a division other than patrol.

Kane County prosecutors dropped the charges against the robbery suspect, saying the investigation had been tainted by Sullivan’s actions.

Sullivan originally had been charged with official misconduct and obstruction of justice and had been free on bond.

In addition to the jail sentence, he was also ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and pay the Elgin Police Department $1,000 as reimbursement for time spent investigating the charges, Kane County prosecutors said.

In a prepared statement, Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon called Sullivan’s actions “foolish, selfish and egregious.”

“The integrity of the criminal justice system at all levels is intertwined with trust and fairness. For the people of Illinois to trust our system, we must have faith that our system is just and fair for everyone. If that integrity is compromised, the system is undermined,” McMahon’s statement said.

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