- Associated Press - Monday, June 8, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - Three Chicago police officers and a fourth officer from a suburban department were charged Monday with perjury, obstruction of justice and official misconduct for allegedly lying under oath in a drug case.

Chicago police Sgt. James Padar, Officer William Pruente, Officer Vince Morgan and Glenview Officer James Horn surrendered to authorities and were later released on $10,000 bond after a hearing. They did not enter pleas.

The four officers testified in March 2014 about seeing a pound of marijuana in plain view during a June 2013 traffic stop in Glenview of 23-year-old Joseph Sperling. Padar, Pruente and Morgan, Chicago narcotics officers, had asked for help from Glenview police in making the stop.

Pruente testified that he pulled Sperling over after the Glenview man failed to use his turn signal. A dashboard camera video shows police immediately handcuffing Sperling, and then placing him in the back of a squad car, before searching the car, and finding drugs.

Sperling’s attorney, Steven Goldman, had subpoenaed the video, taken from a Glenview sergeant’s squad car at the scene. He played it during a hearing before Cook County Circuit Judge Catherine Haberkorn to rebut the officers’ testimony.

Haberkorn concluded the officers lied and suppressed the search and arrest. Prosecutors later dismissed the charges against Sperling.

Attorney Daniel Herbert, who represents Horn, said his client made mistakes in his testimony but didn’t commit perjury.

“There’s a huge difference between a mistaken testimony and perjury,” Herbert said. “Mistaken testimony happens dozens of times every single day in this building alone.”

But Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez told reporters outside the courtroom that what the officers had done “clearly is perjury.”

“It’s a sad day when we have to do this,” Alvarez said after the hearing. “I respect and appreciate every job that police officers do each and every day here in the city of Chicago and all of Cook County. We also know that when it comes to testifying falsely … we have to hold all of our witnesses to the same standard.”

Prosecutors say the Chicago police officers have been stripped of their police powers and assigned to desk duty, while the Glenview officer has been placed on administrative leave. It was unclear if the officers other than Horn had attorneys yet.

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