CHICAGO — A Chicago police officer has been charged in connection to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
The officer, Karol Chwiesiuk, is accused of breaching a senator’s office during the incident. A criminal complaint details the accusations against Chwiesiuk, saying location data, photos, video and texts show he traveled to Washington, D.C., and entered a senator’s office at the Capitol — all while wearing a Chicago Police Department hoodie.
Data shows Chwiesiuk left Chicago on Jan. 4, arrived in D.C. on Jan. 5 and returned home Jan. 8, according to the complaint. Data also shows the officer spent time at the Mayflower Hotel — which also had a reservation under his name — and went near the Capitol building on Jan. 5, the night before the riot.
On Jan. 3, a text sent from Chwiesiuk’s phone said, “I’m going to dc. … To save the nation. … I’m f— up some commies,” according to the complaint.
At 11:28 a.m. Jan. 6, texts sent from Chwiesiuk’s phone said he was in D.C. “Knocked out a commie last night,” one text said. He sent a photo of himself wearing a hoodie where the Chicago Police Department emblem was visible and texted, “There’s so many blacks here I’m actually in disbelief.”
About 2:58 p.m. Jan. 6, Chwiesiuk sent a photo of himself and then texted, “We inside the capital lmfao.” The photo was taken inside the office of Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, according to the complaint.
The person texting Chwiesiuk said, “Guns were drawn in the chamber once window was broken,” and Chwiesiuk replied, “Yeah I was there.”
Geolocation from Chwiesiuk’s phone shows it was inside or near the Capitol 2:37-3:24 p.m. Jan. 6.
Other photos and videos from the day also appear to show Chwiesiuk inside the Capitol, according to the complaint.
After leaving Merkley’s office, Chwiesiuk went to the Capitol Crypt, then to the Senate Wing and left through a broken-out window, according to the complaint.
Chwiesiuk has been charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Jan. 6 saw supporters of former President Donald Trump violently force their way past Capitol police, break into the Capitol and desecrate the historical building while lawmakers were trying to sign off on President Joe Biden’s victory. Federal lawmakers, aides and reporters had to hide and shelter while rioters stole from offices and broke into Senate chambers.
At a Friday news conference, Supt. David Brown said Chwiesiuk was on medical leave and was off-duty when he allegedly participated in the insurrection. Chwiesiuk was relieved of police duties June 2, when the Police Department learned of the pending charges, Brown said.
The Police Department will “not allow anyone to tarnish our shining star, to bend it, twist it or sully its true meaning. What happened in D.C. on Jan. 6 was an absolute disgrace,” Brown said. “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. Participating in the siege on the Capitol in any way was a betrayal of everything we stand for: our oath, the law.”
Brown said the Police Department has “zero tolerance” for hate and said officers who “harbor ignorance in” their hearts should take off their badges and find other jobs — “or I’ll do it for you.”
Brown was joined by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who criticized participants in the Jan. 6 insurrection and vowed to hold Chwiesiuk accountable.
“We all watched in horror and anger as these domestic terrorists walked into the Capitol, stormed it … and defiled our nation’s Capitol building,” Lightfoot said. “These feelings of horror and anger intensify when President Trump said little to nothing to stop the mob that he had incited, and then intensified once more when the country found out and continues to learn just who was part of that insurrectionist mob: family members, neighbors, business owners and, sadly, even public servants. One of those was a Chicago police officer, giving a total disgrace to the badge, as the superintendent said.
“CPD should and must always hold officers accountable for their actions both on- and off-duty, and this time will be no different.”
Brown said the department will investigate associates of Chwiesiuk’s to determine if any of them harbor similar beliefs to him and will “root them out.”
“You will not be paid by the taxpayers of this city to be a hateful member of this community,” Lightfoot said.
Chwiesiuk joined the Police Department in 2018 — but he never should have been hired, Brown said.
The officer, who the complaint alleges used racial slurs, worked in the 11th District, which has large communities of color. He had no misconduct reports in his background, Brown said.
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