An 18-year veteran Chicago police officer was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly solicited and accepted a $5,000 cash bribe in return for letting a driver go scot-free.
On Sept. 14, Harold Rodriguez, 45, performed a traffic stop of a vehicle at the corner of 26th Street and California Avenue and recognized its driver as a man arrested last year for a felony traffic violation, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
After Rodriguez, a field-training officer, determined that the driver had "an extensive criminal history," he solicited a bribe by stating that he could "make this all go away" for $5,000, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told CBS Chicago.
The driver, Jermaine Jordan, subsequently tipped off Chicago police about the offer, the Chicago Tribune reports. When he met Rodriguez to deliver the cash at a busy fast-food restaurant Tuesday, undercover officers were nearby to monitor the exchange.
Immediately after the transaction, detectives arrested the officer, who was charged with felony bribery and official misconduct Wednesday. His bail was set at $50,000 and he has been stripped without pay of his police powers.
If convicted, Rodriguez will face up to seven years in prison, the Sun-Times reports.
As CBS notes, Rodriguez works in the Ogden District, home to the "Marquette 10" officers who were convicted of accepting bribes from drug ring operators decades ago.
Photo by vxla via Flickr.
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