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You are here News Domestic (USA) A corrupt Chicago cop destroyed hundreds of lives. Now victims want justice.

A corrupt Chicago cop destroyed hundreds of lives. Now victims want justice.

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Ronald WattsCHICAGO — JaJuan Nile was a joker, a picky eater and his mother's only son. Growing up, he dreamed of starting a landscaping business.

But he never got the chance. Instead, a run-in with a now-disgraced Chicago police officer put the 20-year-old behind bars for a crime he didn't commit. It changed the course of his life, his family said.

Nile was charged with possession of cocaine in 2007 and sentenced to three years in prison. With a felony on his record, he was repeatedly denied jobs and apartments.

Two years ago, just after he received his certificate of innocence and landed a job, the father of three young kids was fatally shot.

"He never got to his full potential because of what happened to him. It definitely led him to do other things, led him to get discouraged," his younger sister, Shawntell Nile, told USA TODAY.

Nile was among nearly 200 people who have been cleared of charges tied to former Sgt. Ronald Watts and his Chicago Police Department team. It's the largest series of exonerations in the city’s history, said Joshua Tepfer, a lawyer with the University of Chicago Law School’s Exoneration Project, which has represented most of the victims.


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