Chicago police officer who vowed to 'save the nation' arrested for alleged role in Jan. 6 US Capitol attackGrace HauckUSA TODAY
CHICAGO — Federal authorities arrested a Chicago police officer Friday in connection with his alleged role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Karol J. Chwiesiuk was arrested at his residence in Chicago, according to Joseph Fitzpatrick, assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
He is charged with five federal misdemeanors alleging unlawful entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to the federal complaint,which includes images of Chwiesiuk inside the building wearing a Chicago Police Department sweatshirt.
Chwiesiuk appeared Friday before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Chicago and was ordered released on a personal recognizance bond, Fitzpatrick said.
Capitol riot arrests:See who's been charged across the U.S.
According to the complaint, Chwiesiuk sent text messages to someone the Sunday before the attack saying he was going to D.C. to "save the nation" and "f*** up some commies." The person cooperated with authorities and said he'd known Chwiesiuk for 10 years, according to the complaint.
When the person pointed out Donald Trump had lost the election and the courts had rejected the campaign's many legal challenges for lack of evidence or standing, Chwiesiuk responded: "Didn’t read. Busy planning how to f*** up commies."
Chwiesiuk left Chicago on Jan. 4 and arrived in D.C. on Jan. 5, according to the complaint. He stayed at the Mayflower Hotel under a reservation made by his sister, according to cell phone geolocation data cited in the complaint.
On Jan. 5, Chwiesiuk received an email from a "Stop the Steal" email account calling on "patriots" to come to D.C. to "make history," according to a copy of the email included in the complaint.
'Does anybody have a plan?' New Senate report details security, intelligence failures before Jan. 6 attack
Chwiesiuk went to the Capitol the night before the attack and walked around the grounds, according to the complaint. Over the course of nearly half an hour, he sent 44 photo messages to three people "known to the FBI," according to the complaint.
On the morning of Jan. 6, Chwiesiuk wrote in a text to the individual that he "knocked out a commie last night." He sent the individual a photo of the street performer known as the "Naked Cowboy," as well as a selfie of himself and a man wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat standing outside in a crowd.
Hours later, Chwiesiuk was inside the Capitol, according to several images, security camera stills and geolocation data included in the complaint. While inside, Chwiesiuk sent or received more than 70 text messages, according to the complaint.
"We inside the capital lmfao," Chwiesiuk wrote to the person in a text, along with a selfie taken in the office of Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, according to the complaint.
A week later, Chwiesiuk used a racial slur in a text message to the person.
'How much worse does it get?' Trauma from Capitol riot, car attack takes toll on Hill staffers
Chwiesiuk's attorney, Tim Grace, said his client has been a Chicago police officer since 2018 and that he previously served as a Cook County sheriff’s deputy.
Chwiesiuk had his police powers stripped June 2 after the department learned of his alleged participation in the attack, Police Superintendent David Brown said in a news conference Friday.
If the allegations are true, Brown said it would be "a betrayal of everything we stand for."
"What happened in D.C. on Jan. 6 was an absolute disgrace," Brown said. "The fact that a Chicago police officer has been charged in that attack on American democracy makes my blood boil."
Five people died, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, and hundreds were injured when Trump supporters hoping to overturn the 2020 election broke into the Capitol to disrupt a joint session of Congress counting electoral votes. Two other officers later died by suicide.
A Senate report this week on the insurrection found U.S. intelligence officials failed to warn of potential violence at the Capitol, leaving law enforcement unprepared to contend with the violent mob.
More than 450 people from throughout the country have been criminally charged, including at least five active-duty officers, six former or retired law enforcement officers, two corrections officers, one firefighter and three former or retired firefighters.
Days after the riot, the elected representative of Chicago's police union expressed sympathy for the insurrectionists in a radio interview. John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, told WBEZ there was "no, obviously, violence in this crowd."
"There was no arson. There was no burning of anything. There was no looting. There was very little destruction of property. It was a bunch of pissed-off people that feel an election was stolen, somehow, some way," Catanzara told WBEZ.
Catanzara later apologized for his comments.
Contributing: Dinah Voyles Pulver, USA TODAY; The Associated Press