A Chicago cop wore a hoodie emblazoned with his department's logo to riot in the US Capitol while on sick leave, and shared his shock at how many black people were there, investigators say.
Officer Karol J. Chwiesiuk, 29, was arrested Friday over claims he travelled from the Windy City to Washington DC to join in the deadly violence, and was branded a 'disgrace' by Mayor Lori Lightfoot after news of his alleged crime was shared.
Chwiesiuk joined a mob of rioters who broke into and vandalized the office of Oregon Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, according to a 19-page criminal complaint released by prosecutor’s Friday.
The complaint includes screen shots of texts Chwiesiuk exchanged with a close friend leading up to the Jan. 6 riot. The texts, which the unidentified friend provided to authorities, begin on Jan. 3, with a message from Chwiesiuk saying he was going to Washington DC 'to save the nation.’
His friend appeared to deter him and said, ‘Fat man child lost. Give it up,’ in an apparent reference to Donald Trump, but Chwiesiuk responded, ‘Didn’t read. Busy planning how to f**k up some commies.’
Then, on Jan. 6, he texted the same friend that he ‘Knocked out a commie last night.’ It is not clear if Chwiesiuk was serious, as he has not been charged with assault.
Later on Jan. 6, he texted his friend again and said ‘There’s so many blacks here I’m actually in disbelief’ and shortly after he wrote, ‘we inside the capital [sic] lmfao.’ Then, seven days later, he texted his friend unprompted and wrote, ‘N***a don’t snitch.’
Officer Karol J. Chwiesiuk, 29, was arrested Friday over claims he took part in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Investigators obtained the above selfie that Chwiesiuk sent to a friend
Crowd photos from the Jan. 6 attack reveal Chwiesiuk among them, highlighted in red
Chwiesiuk is accused of being part of a mob which broke into Oregon Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley's office
Prosecutors released a 19-page criminal complaint detailing Chwiesiuk's arrest
Chwiesiuk, who worked in the CPD’s 11th District in Harrison, faces five misdemeanor counts that include entering a restricted building, disrupting government business and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds with the intent to impede a congressional proceeding.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Fuentes ordered Chwiesiuk released on $15,000 bond under the conditions that he relinquish any firearms, surrender his firearm owner’s identification card and could never travel to the Capitol again.
Chwiesiuk was on medical leave from the police department at the time of the Jan. 6 insurrection, although the department has refused to offer further details on his condition. He served as a Chicago police officer since 2018 after a stint as a Cook County sheriff's deputy.
On receiving news of his arrest, CPD Superintendent David Brown stripped him of his police powers and placed him on desk duty. He spoke at a news conference with Chicago city officials on Friday.
CPD Superintendent David Brown condemned Chwiesiuk's actions at a news conference with Chicago city officials on Friday
Brown said that if the allegations are true, it is 'a betrayal of everything we stand for.'
'The fact that a Chicago police officer has been charged in that attack on American democracy makes my blood boil,’ Brown said.
'We have a zero tolerance for hate and extremism of any kind within the Chicago Police Department. And if you harbor such ignorance in your heart, you should take off your star now and find another line of work, or I'll do it for you.'
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at the news conference that Chwiesiuk brought a ‘total disgrace’ to the Chicago police department.
‘We have to stand in one, clear united voice and say not in this time, not in this place, will we ever tolerate hate,’ she said.
‘CPD must always hold officers accountable for their actions both on and off duty. This kind of behavior could never be tolerated in the city of Chicago. Hate has no home here.’
Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died and hundreds of people were injured on Jan. 6 when rioters, some of whom were armed, stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to disrupt the Electoral College from certifying the results of the 2020 election. Two other officers died by suicide in the months following the attack.
More than 465 people from throughout the country have been criminally charged to date.
Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died and hundreds of people were injured at the Jan. 6 Capitol riots
More than 465 people from throughout the country have been criminally charged to date for their involving in the Jan. 6 insurrection