Federal authorities arrested a Chicago police officer Friday morning for his alleged role in storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump attempted to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the presidential election.
Chicago Police Department officer Karol J. Chwiesiuk appeared remotely before U.S. Judge Gabriel Fuentes on Friday. Chwiesiuk faces charges of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority.
In a press conference Friday, CPD Superintendent David Brown said Chwiesiuk had been on the force for two years, and has been placed on desk duty since his arrest.
According to a criminal complaint, FBI agents used geolocation data to learn that a device associated with one of Chwiesiuk’s Google accounts was present inside the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The FBI agents said they then obtained text messages Chwiseiuk sent to an acquaintance in the days leading up to the Capitol riot in which he announced his travel plans.
“I’m going to D.C,” he texted the acquaintance on Jan. 3.
“When and for what?” the acquaintance responded.
“To save the nation. Leaving tomorrow or the fifth,” Chwiseiuk wrote.
The acquaintance urged Chwiseiuk not to go, writing, “Fat man lost. Give it up,” referring to Trump’s electoral defeat.
Chwiseiuk was unmoved, responding in part, “Im fuck up some commies.”
In a longer message the acquaintance reiterated — with a deft understanding of the law — how Trump had lost the election, but Chwiseiuk wasn’t interested.
“Didn’t read,” he replied. “Busy planning how to fuck up commies.”
The text conversation picked up again on Jan. 6, with Chwiseiuk bragging to the acquaintance that he “knocked out a commie last night.” (No further details of this alleged assault are included in the criminal complaint.)
Chwiseiuk then sent the acquaintance a selfie of himself — wearing a Chicago Police Department sweatshirt — standing next to a Black man in a MAGA hat at a rally outside the Capitol.
“There’s so many blacks here I’m actually in disbelief,” Chwiseiuk wrote.
Later, Chwiseiuk sent a selfie of himself. “We inside the capital lmfao,” he texted.
“I know,” the acquaintance responded. “Guns were drawn in the chamber once window was broken. Shithousery.”
“Yea I was there,” Chwiseiuk wrote.
Later that night, perhaps after the seriousness of what he had done set in, Chwiseiuk sent another text. “Nigga Don’t snitch,” he wrote to the acquaintance.
FBI agents, according to the criminal complaint, also spotted Chwiseiuk in multiple other photos taken inside the Capitol that day.
Chwiseiuk’s bond was set at $15,000 in court on Friday. He is prohibited from possessing a firearm and from traveling to Washington, D.C.
Chwiseiuk is at least the 18th law enforcement officer to have been charged for his role in the historic insurrection, according to a Washington Post tally.
CBS reports some 50 people with military affiliations — who similarly took oaths to uphold the law and the Constitution — have also been arrested for breaching the Capitol.
In total, federal authorities have arrested nearly 500 people in connection with the insurrection. Another 300 suspects are featured in photos on the FBI’s website. Prosecutors say the cases could amount to the largest investigation in American history.