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Chicago police officer charged in Jan. 6 attack at Capitol

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago police officer has been charged with breaching the U.S. Capitol and entering a senator’s office during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Karol Chwiesiuk, 29, was arrested Friday and faces five misdemeanor counts, including entering a restricted building, disrupting government business, an disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds with intent to impede congressional proceeding.

Prosecutors allege in a criminal complaint that Chwiesiuk was among a mob of people who broke into and damaged the office of Sen. Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat. They also say that days before he traveled to Washington to attend a rally supporting then-President Donald Trump, Chwiesiuk said in a text to a friend that he was going “to save the nation” and was “Busy planning how to (expletive) up commies.” He later sent photos of himself inside the Capitol, according to prosecutors.

Chwiesiuk was on medical leave from the police department at the time he traveled to Washington for the attack, the complaint states.

Chwiesiuk appeared in federal court in Chicago on Friday. His attorney, Tim Grace, said Chwiesiuk has been a Chicago police officer since 2018 and that he previously served as a Cook County sheriff’s deputy. He was stripped of his police powers this week and is on desk duty, Grace said.

Police Superintendent David Brown said during a news availability Friday that Chwiesiuk had his police powers stripped on June 2 after the department learned of his participation in the attack.

Brown said that if the allegations are true, it is “a betrayal of everything we stand for.”

“What happened in D.C. on Jan. 6 was an absolute disgrace,” he said. “The fact that a Chicago police officer has been charged in that attack on American democracy makes my blood boil.”

Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died in the attack and hundreds of people were injured. Two other officers killed themselves afterward. More than 450 people from throughout the country have been criminally charged.

The Associated Press