updated 10/9/2007 9:53:56 PM ET 2007-10-10T01:53:56

The Chicago Police Department said Tuesday it would disband its elite drug and gang unit, under fire after seven officers were charged with felonies including armed violence, home invasion and kidnapping.

One of those officers — all members of the department’s Special Operations Section — was charged last month with allegedly plotting to hire someone to kill a potential witness against him, a fellow police officer.

“The recent incidents involving officer misconduct have been disheartening and demoralizing, especially to the officers who serve this department honorably every single day,” interim Police Supt. Dana Starks said.

The officers were accused of belonging to a rogue band of officers who used their badges to shake down residents and intimidate people.

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