12/27/2007Illinois: Cop Denies Robbing Motorists
Oak Lawn, Illinois police officer pleads not guilty to robbing Hispanic motorists during traffic stops.
An Oak Lawn, Illinois patrol officer yesterday denied that he pulled over and robbed motorists while working the midnight shift. According to county prosecutors, Steven Harrison, 26, stopped Hispanic motorists on their way to work late at night. The rookie officer threatened to jail at least five motorists unless they handed over between $100 and $250 in cash, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"This is how we do things in the suburbs," Harrison reportedly said to one victim ordered to hand over $160.
Harrison allegedly allowed this driver to go home to gather money later delivered in the police station's parking lot. Harrison is said to have handed receipts to victims on parking ticket forms, fourteen of which are missing from his book. Oak Lawn Police Chief Bill Villanova fired Harrison on October 19.
The Cook County State's Attorney charged Steven Harrison, 26, with twenty-three counts of official misconduct, five counts of misdemeanor theft and three counts of felony intimidation. Police in Georgia and Mississippi have been charged with similar theft schemes.