An investigation into the Oath Keepers, a far-right extremist group, has revealed troubling ties to the Chicago Police Department. Several active and former police officers have been identified as members of the group, despite allegations of excessive force, improper searches, and racist comments on the job. Shockingly, some of these officers remain on the police force, raising concerns about the department’s commitment to purging extremists from its ranks.
The leaked membership records showed that many of these officers worked in the Special Operations Section, which was disbanded due to revelations of criminal activities, including robberies and a plot to murder a colleague. Some officers also held positions as departmental trainers, responsible for teaching new recruits essential policing skills.
What is most concerning is that some officers not only joined the Oath Keepers but also actively promoted the group within the police department. One detective in the financial crimes section even claimed that his fellow officers had spread the word about the Oath Keepers, while a former sergeant pledged to bring the group to roll call sessions.
Amidst these troubling revelations, the Chicago Police Department has resisted taking significant action against the officers involved. Last year, an investigation into the officers’ ties to the Oath Keepers closed without finding any wrongdoing. This lack of action has drawn criticism from the city’s top watchdog, who argues that merely joining an extremist group violates the department’s rules of conduct.
The Oath Keepers gained national attention after their involvement in the attack on the U.S. Capitol to disrupt the transfer of presidential power. Founder Stewart Rhodes and other members of the group have since been convicted of sedition in one of the largest federal investigations in U.S. history.
The revelation of the Oath Keepers’ ties to the Chicago Police Department raises serious questions about the department’s disciplinary system and its ability to implement necessary reforms. As Chicago leaders strive to make court-ordered changes to policing policies and practices, it is imperative that they address these troubling connections and take swift and decisive action to ensure the department is free from extremists.
What is the Oath Keepers?
The Oath Keepers is a far-right extremist group founded in 2009 by Stewart Rhodes. The group recruits military personnel, law enforcement officers, and first-responders to join their mission of defending citizens’ rights against perceived elite oppression.
What actions has the Oath Keepers been involved in?
The Oath Keepers have been involved in various acts of defiance and extremism. They were convicted of planning a courthouse takeover in 2010 and engaged in an armed standoff with federal authorities at a ranch in Nevada in 2014. However, their most notable action was their participation in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, in an unsuccessful attempt to disrupt the transfer of presidential power.
What steps has the Chicago Police Department taken to address these ties?
Despite claims of “zero tolerance for hate or extremism within CPD,” the Chicago Police Department has been criticized for its lack of action regarding officers’ ties to the Oath Keepers. An investigation into the matter last year closed without finding any wrongdoing. The department’s response to these troubling connections remains under scrutiny.