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Ex-Cop Talks About Busting the Cop Who Trained Her

Shannon Spalding appears on the show 'Whistleblower'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2019 3:28 PM CDT
Shannon Spalding gives a Tedx talk.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Shannon Spalding says she was faced with a grueling task: taking down a fellow cop who had once trained her. But after becoming an undercover Chicago narcotics officer in 2006, she saw the damage being done. "People would say … 'I can't believe you're going to arrest me when one of your own is actually running the narcotics trade,'" says Spalding on Friday's episode of Whistleblower, per CBS News. "Even the good citizens that live there, that are law-abiding citizens, they're subjected to this. We heard … he would put anything from a couple bags to enough to put you away for 10, 15, 20 years." The culprit was veteran cop Ronald Watts, who was also accused of planting hard drugs on casual drug-users as a way of punishing them.

Spalding and her partner went to the FBI and spent years investigating Watts and his team. In 2012, Watts and one of his men were arrested for robbing a drug courier who was actually Spalding's informant, wearing an FBI wire—but that's when things got scarier for Spalding, who found her car tires sliced just enough to blow, per the Chicago Tribune. "Someone was trying to kill me," she says. She and her partner also filed a federal lawsuit, later settled for $2 million, claiming that their supervisors had blackballed them. In the end Watts got 22 months for extorting protection payoffs from drug dealers, and the drug records of at least 42 men were cleared, CBS Chicago reported last year. Spalding left the department in 2014 and is writing a book about what happened. A feature film is also in development. (Read more police stories.)

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