Chicago Police

Chicago OIG calls out CPD for not reopening investigations into officers with alleged ties to extremist groups

Chicago's OIG also criticized Mayor Johnson's administration in the advisory

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In an advisory published today, Chicago’s Office of Inspector General said the city must take a “definitive and unequivocal position against extremism within its police ranks." The advisory comes as a response to the Chicago Police Department's refusal to reopen an investigation into officers with ties to extremist groups such as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.

Deborah Witzburg, the head of the Chicago OIG, said CPD must aggressively investigate allegations that some of its members belong to or associate with extremist groups.

“We cannot ask people to trust a police department whose members are allowed to dabble in hatred and extremism,” Witzburg said.

The latest probe was the third investigation into CPD officers with ties to far-right groups since 2022 to end without any of the allegedly involved officers being disciplined.

“Following this thorough investigation by BIA (Bureau of Internal Affairs), it was determined that the allegations against the accused members were not sustained,” a statement from CPD said.

CPD Supt. Larry Snelling defended the department's investigation earlier this year, saying at the time the department didn't want to "mislead anyone that this is tied to January 6."

Witzburg's advisory also called out Mayor Brandon Johnson's administration, saying it refused to adopt the OIG's recommendation to convene a task force and failed to commit to any specific action.

A statement from Garien Gatewood, Chicago’s Deputy Mayor for Community Safety, said Johnson's administration was committed to addressing the issue.

"The Johnson Administration and the Chicago Police Department remain fully committed to rooting out extremist, anti-government and biased organizations in our law enforcement ranks," Gatewood's statement said.

An additional statement from Johnson's office Tuesday said his administration remained "steadfast" in its commitment "to genuine accountability and ensuring that such activities have clear consequences."

The OIG warned that lingering questions about connections to extremist groups hurt the department’s efforts to rebuild its relationships with the community.

“The city cannot be serious about an effort to foster trust in the police department until we get this right,” Witzburg said.

Witzburg said failure to remove officers with ties to extremist groups also could have an impact as the Democratic National Convention nears.

“We cannot have CPD members who are associated with organizations advocating the overthrow of the federal government,” Witzburg said.

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