CHICAGO — A Chicago police officer is facing several misdemeanor charges for allegedly taking part in the storming of the United States Capitol on Jan. 6.
Officer Karol Chwiesiuk made his initial appearance in federal court via a telephone hearing Friday afternoon. The charges include unlawful entry to a U.S. government building and disorderly conduct.
Chwiesiuk’s defense attorney told the judge his client was born and raised on Chicago’s Northwest Side and has been a Chicago police officer since Dec. 2018.
The attorney said Chwiesiuk, who lives with his parents, is currently assigned to the patrol division in the 11th Police District on the city’s West Side. His attorney said he has been stripped of his police powers, but argues the department cannot immediately suspend or terminate him.
During the hearing prosecutors said Chwiesiuk texted with another person three days before the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol. When that person texted an article, Chwiesiuk allegedly responded, “Didn’t read, busy planning how to ****-up commies.”
Prosecutors said Chwiesiuk, joined with a mob, breached the Capitol and got as far inside as the interior of a U.S. Senator’s office.
Federal prosecutors agreed to Chwiesiuk’s supervised release while awaiting trial under the condition that he not posses a firearm and surrenders his FOID card, which would disqualify himself from continuing to serve as an active duty police officer.
A Chicago police spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Chicago Police Supt. Brown and Mayor Lightfoot held a press conference Friday afternoon denouncing Chwiesiuk’s alleged involvement.
“There is no place for you in this police department if you are going to participate in a siege on our U.S. Capitol against our democracy,” Brown said in the press conference.
He went on the say the officer was on medical leave from the department during the time of the riot and drove from Chicago to DC.
Mayor Lightfoot was critical of Chicago FOP President John Catanzara for initially defending the actions of the insurrectionists.
“Catanzara took it upon himself to defend the actions of the domestic terrorists who stormed our Capitol on January 6,” Lightfoot said.
When reached for comment Friday, Catanzara pushed back.
“We harp on the fact he was a Chicago police officer; but he was not in uniform when he did this, he was on his own personal time when he did this,” Catanzara said. “So are we going to continue to scrutinize everybody’s profession when they’re off-duty, including news anchors?”
More than 450 people have been charged across the country with taking part in the storming of the U.S. Capitol and/or violent attacks on members of law enforcement who were protecting the building. They include a North Shore man charged earlier this week.