Chicago Cop Latest Alleged Criminal Caught Bragging About Storming Capitol
Chicago Police Officer Karol J. Chwiesiuk was arrested Friday for his alleged role in storming the US Capitol on January 6. He's charged with five misdemeanor counts, including "violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority."
The FBI reportedly obtained text messages Chwiesiuk sent to an acquaintance detailing his coup-related activities. On January 3, he texted, “Going to DC." The acquaintance responded, “When and for what?" and you can almost hear the weariness in those words.
"To save the nation. Leaving tomorrow or the fifth," Chwiseiuk wrote.
The acquaintance urged Chwiseiuk not to go, writing, "Fat man lost. Give it up," referring to [Donald] Trump's electoral defeat.
The acquaintance tried explaining to Chwiseiuk, as if he was a small, dumb child, that Donald Trump had lost the election, fairly and irrevocably, but Chwiseiuk was unmoved by logic or the law.
"Didn't read," he replied. "Busy planning how to fuck up commies."
Chwiseiuk picked up the text conversation on the evening of January 6, when he bragged that the "knocked out a commie last night." (Yet authorities don't appear to have charged him with assault.) He also texted a selfie of himself at the rally wearing a Chicago PD sweatshirt and standing next to a Black man in a MAGA hat. Chwiseiuk expressed astonishment that he'd encountered actual Black Trump supporters in the wild.
"There's so many blacks here I'm actually in disbelief," Chwiseiuk wrote.
He also shared a photo of himself chilling inside Oregon Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley's office. It's an interesting contrast to last summer, when Minneapolis cops were terrified protesters would breach their precinct and beat them to to death. Cops across the nation felt for their “brothers" in blue, but apparently not all their empathy extended to members of Congress.
Later that night, Chwiseiuk sent his lucky acquaintance another text: “N---a don't snitch." It's a gangster-style warning but also possible evidence that the acquaintance wasn't a fellow officer. FBI agents confirmed Chwiesiuk's location on January 6 with geolocation data that revealed a device connected to one of his Google accounts was present inside the Capitol. Chwiesiuk's a cop, so he probably should've known not to bring his iPhone to a crime scene, but he also seemed unaware that "N---a don't snitch" isn't legally binding.
Chwiesiuk was relieved of his police powers on June 2 and is currently on desk duty. He was released on an unsecured $15,000 bond. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown both condemned Chwiesiuk after his appearance in federal court.
"This isn't about one police officer charged with a heinous assault on our democracy," [Lightfoot] said. It's about sending a "clear and unequivocal message" that "we will have no tolerance for hate. Period."
Brown echoed Lightfoot's sentiments. He sounds as if he's only encountered police officers on TV shows.
"We have a zero tolerance for hate or extremism of any kind," Brown said. " ... If you harbor such ignorance, you should take off your star now and find another line of work. Or I will do it for you."
He promised not to "leave any rock unturned" in his quest to find officers with "like-minded beliefs" and "root them out of this department." It's adorable that he thinks he'd have to work that hard to find insurrection-friendly, MAGA-supporting cops. They're not exactly hiding under rocks. According to the Washington Post, Chwiesiuk is the 18th law enforcement officer charged with taking part in Trump's insurrection.
The CPD hired Chwiesiuk in 2018, as part of a "hiring push" by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He was previously a deputy with the Cook County sheriff's office. Brown said there were no misconduct allegations against Chwiesiuk. However, court records show that Chwiesiuk was sued in January by two Uber passengers who claim they were injured when he struck their rideshare car while driving a police vehicle in October.
Although Brown claims "It's better to go slower and vet" police recruits, the department named Chwiesiuk an "Officer of the Month" in 2019, so they must've thought he was doing a good job. He also received a "crime reduction award" the same year, in addition to other "honorable mentions." He's on the list for another commendation, as well, according to his attorney, Tim Grace, a lawyer for the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 that represents rank-and-file CPD officers. Presumably, they'll withdraw that commendation. It's just awkward right now.
It's also weird that a lawyer for the FOP is defending an accused insurrectionist, who should've been fired already. Don't make us protest over this one. We've got a full dance card.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."