CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago police officer has been arrested and taken into custody in connection with participating in the riot at the U.S. Capitol where five people died on January 6.
Officer Karol Chwiesiuk is assigned to the 11th (Harrison) District.
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Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said what happened in Washington D.C. On January 6 was “an absolute disgrace.”
“The fact that Chicago police officer has been charged in that attack on American democracy, makes my blood boil. Makes me sick to my stomach,” Brown said. “If the allegations are true, it breaks my heart.”
Brown said Chwiesiuk was charged with five misdemeanors and was relieved of his police powers on June 2.
He’s been placed on desk duty by CPD.
“We have a zero tolerance for hate and extremism of any time within the Chicago Police Department. And if you harbor such ignorance in your heart, you should think off that star. Now. And find another line of work.”
According to the charges filed in U.S. District Court in D.C., Chwiesiuk sent a friend a text message on Jan. 6 saying he was in D.C., and claiming:
“Knocked out a commie last night. Don’t tell.”
Other messages he sent that day included:
“There’s so many blacks here I’m actually in disbelief.”
“We inside the capitol lmfao”
“N**** don’t snitch”
Also in the federal charges, authorities said photos show he entered the office of Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon.)
Mayor Lori Lightfoot was angry in talking about the arrest of the CPD officer and how the Capitol riot was ignited by false claims of former President Donald Trump.
“We’re not going to tolerate this. We have to take swift action against anyone who perpetuates because hate against one of us is hate against all of us, and holding President (Trump) accountable for enabling encouraging and defending this insurrection.”
She added: “you will not be paid by the taxpayers of this city, to be a hateful member of our community.”
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According to Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board data, Chwiesiuk previously worked at the Cook County Department of Corrections until December 9, 2018.
He joined the Chicago Police Department on December 17, 2018.
In his time on the force, Chwiesiuk has faced two use of force complaints, according to CPD data:
There were for June 14, 2020 and March 14, 2021 as well as minor internal disciplinary cases related to traffic accidents on August 16, 2019 and October 19, 2020.
At his court appearance Friday afternoon, Chwiesiuk was ordered to surrender his FOID card and passport and was ordered to remove all firearms from his home.
Chwiesiuk has a status hearing set for June 18 at 2:00 p.m.
Chwiesiuk joins several other Illinois residents who have been charged in connection with the Capitol riot.
Christian Kulas, of Kenilworth, was arrested Tuesday on charges connected to the insurrection at the Capitol.
In a complaint, federal prosecutors said three days after the insurrection, the FBI received multiple tips that Kulas had been captured in images and video during the insurrection. The FBI interviewed several people, and a cooperating witness provided video clips from an Instagram account first showing a rally at which President Donald Trump was speaking, then people walking up the steps of the U.S. Capitol and shouting, “Block the steal!”
The camera then pans around to show a man identified by authorities as Kulas who had been operating the camera the whole time. He is seen laughing in the video, wearing a dark baseball-type cap with the words “Keep America Great” in bright orange letters, and a dark Burberry coat.
The informant also provided additional information about the user of the Instagram account – saying Kulas lived in the Winnetka-Lake Forest area and providing additional information about him.
The FBI also talked to another informant who has known Kulas for several years and reported attending middle school and high school with him. The second informant was highly confident that the person seen in the Burberry coat was Kulas, and also said he was the one who was heard saying, “Storming the Capitol.” Other video footage from a variety of sources also appeared to show Kulas, including video taken by other rioters and official surveillance video, prosecutors said.
Kash Lee Kelly of Hammond was charged for joining the riot in January. He faces misdemeanor charges of illegal entry into a restricted federal building and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Brad Rukstales, of Inverness, was charged with unlawful entry in the riot. He apologized for his decision and said he regrets the embarrassment to his family, colleagues, and friends.
In January, Mathew Capsel, who also apparently goes by the name Mateo Q Capsel in social media posts, was arrested Tuesday on charges of knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted area and resisting law enforcement.
Christina Gerding, 46, and Jason Gerding, 50, of Quincy in western Illinois were arrested Thursday on charges of unlawful entry, disorderly or disruptive conduct on any restricted building or grounds, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
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