Off-duty officer investigated for potential interference at murder scene

Police officer investigated after actions at murder scene (image: Sun-Times Media Wire)

An off-duty Chicago police sergeant is being investigated by internal affairs for his potential interference at the crime scene of a fatal shooting Sunday in the Loop.

A 24-year-old man was driving in the 500 block of East Lower Wacker Drive about 3:03 a.m. when someone in a dark-colored SUV fired shots, killing him, Chicago police said.

According to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, the off-duty sergeant was in the area at the time of the shooting and “made contact” with officers investigating the crime scene. The off-duty sergeant then attempted to enter the crime scene, at which point he “got into an altercation” with the 1st District officers who were on duty.

A Sun-Times photographer saw the sergeant being physically removed from the scene. The sergeant repeatedly told police he was on the force as well, but offered no proof such as a badge number or call sign.

Slurring his words, the sergeant told officers he had performed CPR on the victim and punched one of the suspects, the photographer said. After the sergeant was removed, officers took two other men who were with him to an area away from the scene to talk to them.

The sergeant was taken to the district office for an internal affairs interview, Guglielmi said. He did not name the sergeant, saying that “no charges have been filed, and this is an administrative investigation.”

There is no record of the sergeant attempting to perform CPR or any other crime scene assistance, Guglielmi said. Alcohol may have also been a factor.

Police declined to comment on who the sergeant was with, whether he was armed or the nature of the altercation, citing the ongoing internal investigation.

The Chicago Police Department’s Rules of Conduct, current as of April 2015, says that officers are forbidden from “any action or conduct which impedes the Department’s efforts to achieve its policy and goals or brings discredit upon the Department.” It also forbids “insubordination or disrespect to a supervisory member on or off duty,” “engaging in any unjustified verbal or physical altercation with any person, while on or off duty” and “intoxication on or off duty.”

Possible penalties for violations of these rules include “reprimand, the assignment of extra duty without compensation, suspension of pay for a period not to exceed thirty days and institution of charges before the Police Board.”