LINCOLN SQUARE — A Chicago police officer was suspended for 120 days after he lied about his ties to the Proud Boys extremist group, city officials said.
Robert Bakker was identified as a police officer who was active on a Proud Boys group chat on Telegram in a story published by Vice in May 2020. Bakker helped organize Proud Boys meetups in Lincoln Square and Andersonville and bragged about his access to “high police” in screen captures of the chats made public by Chicago Antifascist Action.
Bakker made a “contradicting statement” about his participation in a Proud Boy chat group and made a “false statement” about attending a Proud Boy barbecue, according to a report released Friday by the Office of the Inspector General.
The inspector general’s office recommended the Police Department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs reopen its previous investigation into Bakker because it “failed to account for all available evidence,” according to the report.
Bakker “failed to submit a written report explaining that [he was] under investigation after being interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding [his] involvement in the Proud Boys,” according to the report.
After reopening its investigation, the Bureau of Internal Affairs reached an agreement through mediation that Bakker would not contest their findings in exchange for a 120-day suspension, according to the report.
Supt. David Brown approved the suspension during the mediation process, according to the report.
City records show Bakker is still employed as a full-time police officer with an annual salary of $95,586.
Attempts to reach Bakker were unsuccessful.
Bakker’s suspension is “still pending,” a Police Department spokesperson said Monday.
The Proud Boys are a hate group focused around white nationalism, and it maintains affiliations with neo-Nazis and similar racist groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The FBI has labeled the Proud Boys as “an anti-Semitic white supremacy organization,” according to the inspector general’s report.
Members of the Proud Boys have been indicted in federal court for seditious conspiracy related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, with at least one of the group’s leaders pleading guilty to those charges.
The leaked group chats that involved Bakker included messages between the president of the Chicago Proud Boys, three avowed white nationalists and Bakker.
The chat logs show Bakker planning meetings among members of the group chat, being invited to a Proud Boys event and using threatening language to refer to progressive activists.
Bakker wrote in the group chat, which was called “F— Antifa,” he would use his position as a police officer to identify and locate antifascist activists, according to the shared screenshots.