Two gay men who were allegedly being shaken down by a man claiming to be an officer who caught them having sex in a Cook County Forest Preserve later helped catch the man, who did turn out to be a real officer—Ronnie Baffield, 48, a Cook County Correctional Officer for more than 20 years.
Baffield was arrested on two counts of bribery and three counts of official misconduct, reported Kelly Cassidy, director of programs and development for the Cook County State's Attorney. A $75,000 bond was set—he posted the bond and his court date is Aug. 4.
One caller to Windy City Times reported being harassed by a man fitting Baffield's general description. An out gay man, he said he was just sitting in the park when a man approached him. While he brushed the man off, two of the man's friends did later capitulate and went to an ATM machine to withdraw money for the bribe. This occurred several years ago, so it is possible that Baffield could have had many more victims.
Anyone with a similar story should contact the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. The Automated Victim Notification system allows people who have an interest in a specific case to register and get notification on court dates, status, etc. You can call in and check by the defendant's name or jail ID number. In this case, he's in the system as Ronnie Baffield and his ID is 20030051243. To sign up for AVN, call (877) 846-3445.