Deborah Witzburg on Proud Boys Cop

On today’s show we feature a interview with Chicago Inspector General Deborah Witzburg discussing the case of Chicago’s Proud Boys cop. As it has been reported in Chicago the Bureau of Internal Affairs had two chances to fire a Chicago Police officer who was associating both in person and online with the white supremacist organization known as the Proud Boys.

Officer Robert Bakker failed to report to the CPD that he had been questions by the FBI about his involvement with an organization known as the Proud Boys. When questioned by BIA Bakker gave “contradictory” and “misleading” statements about his involvement with the organization and the fact that he was questioned by the FBI. In their original set of findings BIA only suspended Bakker 5 days for his statements and his failure to report his being questioned by the FBI.

After the Office of Inspector General reviewed the closed investigation as they are required to do by law they referred the case back to BIA because in their opinion the investigation was not thorough. BIA then sustained charges against Bakker for new allegations but not for his involvement in the organization or for submitting a false report which would have been enough to move to fire Bakker.

As Witzburg details the CPD also had an opportunity to fire an officer who admitted to being a member of the Oath Keepers. They also declined to fire this officer. Not the best time for police accountability in Chicago. When being involved with the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers brings you a slap on the wrist in Chicago’s police accountability system it certainly seems that there needs to be accountability for accountability system.

This comes at time when Mayor Lightfoot and Superintendent David Brown are trying to tell the public that the CPD is making progress on the reforms mandated by the consent decree. Not sure what reform would be more fundamental than firing cops for associations with white supremacist organizations.

Tracy has nearly two decades of experience researching and working within criminal justice systems. When Tracy began pursuing a career dedicate to system reform, he found that no single organization existed to promote evidence-based discussions among law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Recognizing that citizens in Chicago deserved the right to demand transparency in their criminal justice system, Siska established the Chicago Justice Project. He received his Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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