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Friday, September 12, 2008

Chicago cop charged with aiding in frame job

The Chicago Tribune by Angela Rozas and Matthew Walberg - September 9, 2008

A Crystal Lake man didn't like his wife's parenting skills or her spending habits, and that's why he got a Chicago police officer to help him frame her with drugs and a gun, Cook County prosecutors said. The prosecutors said the man gave them another reason, too: He wanted her money. Bogdan Mazur, who is in the midst of a divorce, tried to set up his estranged wife by planting cocaine, marijuana and a gun in her vehicle in April 2007 and having Grand-Central District Officer Slawomir Plewa arrest her, according to Assistant State's Atty. Lynn McCarthy.

Plewa, 30, was arrested Monday and charged with official misconduct, perjury, obstruction of justice, unlawful restraint and false reporting. Mazur of the 900 block of Wedgewood Drive in Crystal Lake was arrested Monday on charges of filing a false police report, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to manufacture or deliver cocaine and cannabis, and conspiracy to commit unlawful use of a weapon. Court testimony Tuesday indicated Mazur is 48, though police records indicate he is 47. Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. ordered both men held in lieu of $250,000 bail. McCarthy said Mazur told police that he met Plewa met through a mutual friend in early 2007 and they planned the false arrest with an uncharged co-conspirator. On April 1, 2007, Mazur met with several police officers, included Plewa, at a parking garage near Belmont and Central Avenues, McCarthy said. There, Mazur told the officers he was certain drugs were in his wife's vehicle. Mazur then called his wife in the officers' presence and told her his car wouldn't start and she needed to come pick up their two young children, who were with him, McCarthy said. Mazur and the uncharged co-conspirator had put a .22-caliber pistol, cocaine and cannabis in the spare-tire compartment, McCarthy said. When the woman arrived, Plewa stopped her and asked if he could search her vehicle, McCarthy said. She said yes. Police found the plastic bag, which contained 44.5 grams of cocaine, 62 grams of cannabis and a gun, McCarthy said. The woman was arrested and charged with gun and drug offenses.

Mazur told police he was angry with his wife and some of her "spending choices and disagreed with some of her parenting decisions," McCarthy said. He planned to split his estranged wife's assets with the co-conspirator after she was convicted. The co-conspirator also was going to help him with Immigration problems. Mazur is a Polish citizen in the United States illegally, McCarthy said. Plewa said in police reports, before the grand jury and in the woman's trial that an anonymous person gave him information that led to her arrest. The woman was acquitted of the charges in January. After the acquittal, the woman's attorney, Steven Messner, said he told Assistant State's Atty. Bob Milan he suspected the case was phony. Plewa had admitted he never made note of the meeting with the informant nor tried to verify the information with anyone else, Messner said. And a fingerprint taken from the packaging around the gun and drugs did not match the estranged wife's, Messner said. Plewa is a seven-year veteran of the department, assigned to the gang-narcotics team for much of that time, and has never before been disciplined, said Dan Herbert, Plewa's attorney. "Officer Plewa did nothing wrong in this case," Herbert told the judge during the bond hearing. "Officer Plewa received information from a confidential informant, and that confidential informant turned out to be Mr. Bogdan [Mazur]." As Herbert extolled the virtues of his client, the judge interrupted him. "These allegations strike at the heart of what we do here every day," Bourgeois said. "George Orwell wrote a book about this."

The judge ordered Plewa to turn in any guns he owns. After the hearing, Herbert said Plewa had already done so. Herbert said Plewa was an aggressive police officer who trusted the word of someone he considered a confidential informant. Plewa was stripped of police powers Aug. 22 and is not being paid, police said. Chicago police said Plewa was the subject of an internal investigation that resulted in his arrest. He was the third officer arrested this year based on an internal investigation. "The actions of this officer do not represent the vast majority of honorable, hard-working police officers who risk their lives everyday," Deputy Supt. Peter Brust said in a statement. In 2006, Plewa was sued in federal court by a mentally handicapped man who claimed that the officer and others pulled him from a parked vehicle, beat him and dragged him in the street. In March 2007, the city settled the suit for $50,000. and

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