Chicago’s police superintendent on Tuesday vowed “thorough investigations” after WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times revealed misconduct records of cops tied to the extremist Oath Keepers, the Sun-Times reports.
Neither he nor other police officials explained the department’s lack of action since a membership list was leaked two years ago. Superintendent Larry Snelling told a City Council hearing there would be “stringent” efforts to root out extremists and “remove those members from our ranks ... It serves the Chicago Police Department in no way, in no way good, to have members amongst our department who are filled with bias or members of hate groups,” Snelling said. “And we will not tolerate it.”
WBEZ, the Sun-Times and the Organized Crime and Corruption Project have been publishing a joint investigation, “Extremism in the Ranks,” which found 27 current and former Chicago police officers whose names appeared in leaked membership records for the Oath Keepers. Nine remain on active duty, some with troubling disciplinary records. This isn’t the first time police officials used tough talk to open an investigation into officers linked to the Oath Keepers, a far-right group at the center of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. When NPR reported in 2021 that a group of Chicago cops was found on the leaked membership roster for the group, the department opened a probe and insisted they had “zero tolerance for hate or extremism." That investigation, involving just three officers, was closed after the department determined that joining the group was not a rule violation. A police official said investigators “did not have the names of the officers,” but the department apparently overlooked a letter from the Anti-Defamation League, which provided the names of eight Chicago police officers on the leaked rolls.