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Chicago police refuse to take disciplinary action against nine officers linked to the extremist group Oath Keepers

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) announced Thursday that it would not punish officers whose names appear on the leaked membership list of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government extremist group involved in the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot.

Despite earlier assurances from CPD Superintendent Larry Snelling of a zero-tolerance policy toward officers associated with the Oath Keepers, the department stated that the investigation was 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 associated with the Oath Keepers, nine of whom are still on active duty. However, CPD’s internal investigation resulted in no disciplinary action, prompting criticism from city officials and attorneys.

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

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, who pledged during his campaign to fire officers linked to extremist groups, has faced pressure from the city’s inspector general, Deborah Witzburg, to keep that promise. Witzburg indicated her office would scrutinize the internal affairs investigations and recommend reopening any flawed cases.

Internal investigations into officers linked to extremist groups such as the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and Three Percenters have come under scrutiny, with calls for stricter disciplinary action.

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 concluded without disciplinary action.

One officer, Robert Bakker, was suspended after misleading investigators about his ties to the Proud Boys, raising concerns about the effectiveness of disciplinary measures within the CPD.

Top cop defends investigation into cops (Credits: WTTW News)

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

Active-duty Chicago officers listed 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.

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