Federal authorities have arrested a Chicago police officer for his alleged role in the January breach of the U.S. Capitol that interrupted the Electoral College vote count and has led to a sprawling criminal investigation.
Karol J. Chwiesiuk is charged with five misdemeanor counts and appeared remotely before U.S. Judge Gabriel Fuentes in Chicago Friday, where he was given a $15,000 unsecured bond.
Fuentes further ordered Chwiesiuk to surrender his FOID card and not possess a weapon or keep weapons in his home while he awaits trial. He also cannot travel to Washington.
The criminal complaint filed against Chwiesiuk Friday alleges he used a racial slur in a text message and bragged about being inside the Capitol where he was seen wearing a CPD hoodie.
Three days before the riot, Chwiesiuk texted an associate, saying he was “busy planning how to f—- up commies” during a conversation about unsuccessful lawsuits that had been filed to dispute the results of President Joe Biden’s election, federal prosecutors said. He then allegedly traveled from Chicago to Washington and joined the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
In a text message on Jan. 6, he allegedly bragged that he “knocked out a commie last night.” Chwiesiuk also took photos of himself at the Capitol — including inside the building — while wearing a tan hoodie with a Chicago police logo on the breast, according to the complaint.
In another message, Chwiesiuk wrote “There’s so many blacks here I’m actually in disbelief” and in a message the following week about being inside the Capitol, he texted a racial slur, writing “N—-a don’t snitch,” the complaint alleges.
A selfie Chwiesiuk sent in a text message during the riot appears to show him inside U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office. Chwiesiuk was also identified as being inside the Capitol in several other photographs.
Chwiesiuk was arrested around 8 a.m. Friday.
Chwiesiuk has been stripped of his police powers and assigned to desk duty, according to his attorney, Tim Grace, a lawyer for the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 that represents rank-and-file CPD officers.
Chwiesiuk was hired by the CPD in December 2018 and lives on the Northwest Side with his parents, Grace said. He previously worked as a deputy with the Cook County sheriff’s office.
Most recently, Chwiesiuk was assigned to the Harrison District on the West Side, Grace said.
Chwiesiuk is at least the 10th individual from Illinois charged in connection with the U.S. Capitol breach, and he is the fourth on that list from the Chicago area. Earlier this week, federal authorities charged Christian Kulas, of Kenilworth, in connection with the breach.
Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., also filed a superseding indictment this week against Kevin J. Lyons that leveled additional charges against the Chicago man originally charged in January for his alleged role in the breach.
Hundreds of people have been charged nationwide in connection with the riot at the U.S. Capitol, and a staggering amount of evidence has been collected. Prosecutors have said it will likely amount to the largest investigation in U.S. history.