By NATHANIEL HERNANDEZ
The Associated Press
Four Chicago police officers accused of breaking into homes and robbing the occupants entered pleas of not guilty Tuesday to a new round of indictments.
The officers are accused of using their police badges to intimidate people and gain access to their homes. The men, who were members of a special operations unit focused on gangs and drugs, were all arrested and charged in September.
The new indictments handed down on Oct. 30 charge them with a variety of felony offenses including armed violence, armed robbery, home invasion, manufacture and delivery of drugs, official misconduct and filing a false police report.
The accusations have forced prosecutors to drop felony charges against dozens of suspects in more than 100 cases, said Marci Jensen, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state's attorney's office.
The officers charged are Jerome Finnigan, Keith Herrera, Thomas Sherry and Carl Suchocki, all of Chicago. They are all free on bond.
Police spokesman Pat Camden said the men have all been placed on ''no pay status.''
During the hearing Tuesday, the judge presiding over the case acknowledged that his father and Sherry's father worked for the police department at the same time.
Judge John Fleming said his father was shot in the line of duty and Sherry's father investigated the incident. Fleming also said some of the defendants have appeared in his courtroom as witnesses in other criminal cases.
He made the disclosures ''for the record'' and said it would not prevent him from being impartial.
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Because of incomplete paperwork in court, the officers did not enter pleas to all the new indictments Tuesday. They were ordered to return to court on Nov. 21.