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No discipline for police officers with ties to controversial groups faces scrutiny

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(The Center Square) – Chicago Inspector General Deborah Witzburg has launched an investigation into Police Supt. Larry Snelling’s decision not to take disciplinary action against nine Chicago Police Department officers recently found to have ties to controversial groups.

Several media outlets have reported the names of as many as 27 current and former officers that have appeared in leaked membership records of the Oath Keepers, a group federal authorities have argued played a pivotal role in the Jan. 6, 2021, protests at the U.S. Capitol.

Snelling recently defended not taking disciplinary action against the officers, noting the probe into the officers’ association started before Jan. 6, 2021.

Witzburg said the IG’s office has concerns.

“The department has taken the position that membership in these groups does not constitute a rule violation. I disagree,” Witzburg told The Center Square. “We will also have more to say on the larger issue of how the city and the police department are handling allegations of association with extremist groups.”

In times past, Witzburg said the inspector general’s office has studied similar cases where officers were alleged to have extremist group ties and found investigations in some way to have been deficient.

“I certainly think this is an issue which the city should urgently attend to if we are serious about fostering trust in the police department and improving the quality of the relationship between the police department and the community it serves,” Witzburg added.

As part of CPD’s initial probe, officers in question told the department that they joined the Oath Keepers for training before they were aware of the group’s controversial reputation.