According to Chuck Feldman of the Proviso Herald, a former Maywood police officer was acquitted April 14 by a jury in Cook County Circuit Court on charges of criminal drug conspiracy.
Arian Wade, 36, was charged in January 2005 in connection with a narcotics investigation aimed at individuals who sought to bribe police officers to not interfere with drug trafficking in Maywood. Wade worked for the Maywood police department for eight years.
Operation Pocket Change was initiated in August 2004 and conducted by investigators from the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, Maywood Police and the Cook County Sheriff's Police. The operation was prompted by a man approaching a Maywood police officer about taking a weekly bribe to protect various street corners on which transactions were taking place, prosecutors said. That exchange led to three officers posing as crooked cops who accepted approximately $1,200 a week to ignore drug operations in the area, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.
Wade was charged after phone taps used in the operation allegedly caught him tipping off an individual who was under investigation.
Wade's attorney, James Kogut, said the person allegedly tipped off by his client -- Hosie Thurman, a leader of the Gangster Disciples -- was used by Wade as "a street contact."
"Police officers are trained to use street contacts to get information," Kogut said. "(Wade) used (Thurman) to get information, but they turned that against him."
Kogut said there was no real evidence against Wade.
"(Less than four hours) is a short time for a jury to deliberate on a case like this one," Kogut said. "The fact that the jury was able to (acquit Wade) in that short of a time shows the failure of the state's case to support the allegations." The trial started March 31.
Wade was placed on paid administrative leave after the January 2005 criminal charges were filed against him, but was fired Aug. 1, 2005 for theft, official misconduct and lying to superior officers, among other charges brought forth by then-Police Chief James Collier to the five-member Maywood Fire and Police Commission.