Chicago police officer arrested, charged for alleged role in Capitol riot
A officer with the Chicago Police Department was arrested and charged Friday for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, according to the city's police chief.
Karol J. Chwiesiuk, a 29-year-old officer with the Chicago Police Department, was arrested by FBI and CPD officers around 8 a.m. local time and charged with five misdemeanors Friday afternoon, including knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building and violent entry or disorderly conduct at the Capitol, according to Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown.
Brown said Chwiesiuk was relieved of his police powers on June 2, as soon as federal authorities informed the department of their investigation.
"The fact that a Chicago Police officer has been charged in that attack on American democracy makes my blood boil, makes me sick to my stomach, and yes, if these allegations are true, it breaks my heart," Brown said.
"Participating in the siege on the Capitol in any way was a betrayal of everything we stand for," Brown said. "Trust is hard to earn and so, so easy to lose."
Timothy Grace, Chwiesiuk’s attorney, did not immediately respond to a NBC News request for comment.
At a press conference Friday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot denounced the riot participants.
"To watch what happened on January 6 shattered me, because that place should be hallowed ground," Lightfoot said of the Capitol, blaming former President Donald Trump for fomenting "lies" to avoid admitting that "he lost."
"CPD should and must always hold officers accountable for their actions, both on and off duty, and this time will be no different," Lightfoot said.
According to the criminal complaint, Chwiesiuk's alleged role was identified through mobile internet records obtained "pursuant to a legal process."
After identifying the Google account that pinged from the Capitol on Jan. 6, Federal investigators wrote that a "search of publicly available resources identified the defendant as an employee of the Chicago Police Department."
The records showed an email from Stop The Steal organizers, geolocation data indicating a car journey from Chicago to Washington, as well as physical location records showing that the suspect entered the Capitol with rioters.
The criminal complaint contained selfies allegedly taken by and shared by Chwiesiuk from inside the Capitol. He allegedly sent about 36 picture messages while inside the complex.
The FBI viewed text messages with an unnamed contact in which Chwiesiuk swatted aside arguments that Trump had lost the election, responding: "Didn't read. Busy planning how to f*** up commies," according to a criminal complaint.
In the press conference, Mayor Lightfoot slammed the head of the Chicago police union who had praised the participants immediately after the riot with comments that he later tried to walk back.
Hundreds of people have been charged by federal investigators for their alleged roles in the U.S. Capitol riots, which nearly interrupted a formal constitutional process that finalized President Joe Biden's election victory over Trump following weeks of efforts by the former president to cast doubt on his election loss.
Notably, a number of off-duty police officers from outside Washington, D.C. participated in the riots.
Several people died amid the chaos.
NBC News reported in May that the FBI is still pursuing the suspects it considers to be the "worst of the worst."
Retired officers from the New York City Police Department and Houston Police Department were arrested and charged in connection with the riot. Thomas Webster, formerly of the NYPD, was alleged by prosecutors to have worn a bulletproof vest and was prepared for "armed conflict" during the attack.
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