A judge last week threw out convictions against 15 Black men who allege they were framed by a corrupt former Chicago police sergeant and his underlings who demanded protection payoffs from residents and drug dealers in a city housing project, reports USA Today. Judge LeRoy Martin Jr. agreed to dismiss the charges after Cook County prosecutors confirmed at a brief hearing that they no longer had faith in the credibility of convictions brought against the men who were arrested on various drug charges from 2003 to 2008 by the rogue cop, identified as Ronald Watts, and officers under his charge. “In good conscience we could not see these convictions stand,” said Mark Rotert, who heads the Cook County State’s Attorney’s conviction integrity unit. The mass exoneration is the latest mark on the Chicago Police Department, which has come under fire in the city’s Black and Latino communities for unnecessarily using deadly force, police brutality and mistreatment of minorities. The U.S. Justice Department recently issued a scathing report about the Chicago Police Department, finding that the city’s police force is beset by widespread racial bias, poor training and feckless oversight of officers accused of misconduct. Following the dismissal of charges against the 15 men last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a joint statement that they had “zero tolerance for abuse, misconduct or any unlawful actions” by law enforcement. More convictions could potentially be overturned, as the integrity unit says it will review any credible complaints brought by people convicted of crimes that were investigated by Watts. “The actions of Ronald Watts must be condemned by all of us, and we will continue our work to ensure the abuses of the past are never repeated in the future,” Emanuel and Johnson said in a statement. The dismissals come two months after lawyers for the 15 men filed a petition on their behalf asking that the their drug convictions be overturned because they had been framed by Watts. Watts and another officer, Kallat Mohammed, pled guilty on federal charges in 2013 for stealing money from a drug courier who had been working as an FBI informant. Watts received a 22-month sentence and Mohammed was sentenced to 18-months in federal prison for the shakedowns.