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Chicago Police Decline to Discipline 9 Officers Linked to Oath Keepers Extremist Group

Chicago Police won't discipline 9 officers (Credits: Chicago Sun-Times)

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) announced Thursday that it would not penalize any officers whose names were listed in the leaked membership roster of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government extremist group implicated in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

Despite previous assurances from CPD Superintendent Larry Snelling regarding a zero-tolerance stance on officers associated with the Oath Keepers, the department stated that the investigation had concluded without any substantiated allegations.

An investigation conducted by WBEZ, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project identified 27 current and former Chicago police officers linked to the Oath Keepers, with nine still on active duty. However, the CPD’s internal probe did not result in disciplinary actions, prompting criticism from city officials and advocates.

Chicago cops with ties to extremists avoid punishment (Credits: WTTW News)

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, who pledged to terminate officers with ties to extremist groups during his campaign, faced pressure from the city’s inspector general, Deborah Witzburg, to fulfill this promise. Witzburg indicated that her office would scrutinize the internal affairs investigations and recommend reopening any deficient cases.

Internal investigations into officers associated with extremist groups like the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and Three Percenters have faced scrutiny, with calls for stricter disciplinary measures.

Despite warnings from organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and reports from NPR, investigations into officers’ ties to extremist groups were reportedly limited in scope and closed without disciplinary action.

One officer, Robert Bakker, faced suspension after misleading investigators about his affiliation with the Proud Boys, raising concerns about the effectiveness of disciplinary measures within the CPD.

Top Cop Defends Investigation Into Officers (Credits: WTTW News)

Similar challenges in addressing officers’ extremist ties were observed in other law enforcement agencies in Illinois, highlighting broader concerns about accountability and transparency in policing.

The active-duty Chicago officers identified in the Oath Keepers’ membership records include Sgt. Michael Nowacki, Detective Anthony Keany, and Officers Phillip Singto, Alberto Retamozo, Matthew Bracken, Bienvenido Acevedo, Dennis Mack, Alexander Kim, and John Nicezyporuk.

While the Oath Keepers’ membership rules prohibit discrimination and violence, allegations of racist policing have been leveled against some officers listed in the group’s roster, raising questions about accountability and community trust within the CPD.

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