Chicago police officer accused of taking part in Jan. 6 insurrection at U.S. Capitol declines plea deal
Officer Karol J. Chwiesiuk, who allegedly took photos of himself inside the Capitol, is scheduled to go to trial in May. He was stripped of his police powers in June 2021.
A Chicago police officer declined a federal plea deal on Tuesday and chose instead to go to trial on charges he was illegally inside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
When asked if it was his choice to turn down an offer to plead guilty to a single petty misdemeanor, Officer Karol J. Chwiesiuk told U.S. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly during a virtual hearing: “It is, yes.”
The deal would have carried a maximum prison sentence of six months and required Chwiesiuk to meet with law enforcement to discuss his behavior on Jan. 6, as well as make available his social media accounts, specifically in regards to activities surrounding that day.
Chwiesiuk chose instead to face all five misdemeanor counts he was charged with at a trial scheduled to start May 1.
Prosecutors allege Chwiesiuk used the N-word and shared pictures of himself inside U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley’s U.S. Capitol office when bragging in text messages about his role in the Jan. 6 breach.
Three days before the insurrection, he allegedly messaged an associate, saying he was “busy planning how to f - - - up commies” during a conversation about unsuccessful lawsuits that had been filed to dispute the results of President Joe Biden’s election.
Chwiesiuk took photos of himself inside the Capitol while wearing a tan hoodie with a Chicago police logo on the breast, according to the federal complaint against him.
In another message, Chwiesiuk wrote, “There’s so many blacks here I’m actually in disbelief” and in a message the next week about being inside the Capitol, he wrote “N - - - - don’t snitch,” the complaint alleges.
After he was charged in June, Mayor Lori Lightfoot called Chwiesiuk a “total disgrace” and Police Supt. David Brown vowed not to “leave any rock unturned” to find officers with “like-minded beliefs” and “root them out of this department.”
Chwiesiuk was relieved of his police powers on June 2, 2021 — as soon as Brown said he was alerted to the charges against Chwiesiuk and hung up the phone with the feds.
He was later put on no-pay status and is on a leave of absence, a police spokesperson told the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday.
“There is also still an active internal investigation into this,” the spokesperson said.
Chwiesiuk was hired by the CPD in December 2018 and lives on the Northwest Side with his parents, according to his attorney, Tim Grace, a lawyer for the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 that represents rank-and-file CPD officers. Chwiesiuk previously worked as a deputy with the Cook County sheriff’s office.
Most recently, Chwiesiuk was assigned to the Harrison District on the West Side, Grace said.
At least 30 people from Illinois have been slapped with federal charges stemming from the Jan. 6 insurrection.