Recorded on video and caught taking dozens of selfies while storming the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, an off-duty Chicago police officer was arrested Friday and charged with five misdemeanor charges, including entering a restricted building, disrupting government business, and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
According to the criminal complaint, Officer Karol Chwiesiuk’s geolocation data showed that he left Chicago on January 4, 2021, and arrived the next day in Washington, D.C. Chwiesiuk reportedly reserved a room at The Mayflower Hotel under his sister’s name before marching towards the Capitol building on January 6.
While texting a friend on January 6, Chwiesiuk wrote, “Yeye. Knocked out a commie last night. Don’t tell [redacted].”
According to the Capitol’s CCTV footage, Chwiesiuk could be seen illegally entering the building with a large group of Trump supporters. After entering Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office, Chwiesiuk took a selfie with several other rioters standing behind him.
The Capitol’s CCTV footage recorded Chwiesiuk leaving the building through a window in the vicinity of the Senate Wing doors. His geolocation data revealed that he left the next day and returned to Chicago on January 8.
On Friday, Chwiesiuk was charged in the U.S. District Court in Washington with five misdemeanor counts, including entering a restricted building, disrupting government business, and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds with intent to impede a congressional proceeding. During a recent press conference, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown confirmed that Chwiesiuk was relieved of his police powers on June 2, as soon as federal authorities informed the department of their investigation.
“The fact that a Chicago Police officer has been charged in that attack on American democracy makes my blood boil, makes me sick to my stomach, and yes, if these allegations are true, it breaks my heart,” Brown said.
“Participating in the siege on the Capitol in any way was a betrayal of everything we stand for,” Brown added. “Trust is hard to earn and so, so easy to lose.”
At a press conference Friday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot stated, “CPD should and must always hold officers accountable for their actions, both on and off-duty, and this time will be no different.”
The charges against Chwiesiuk each carry up to a year in prison if convicted.