Government Law

Cases under review after 'hero' police officer was found to have staged his own suicide

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Initially hailed as a fallen hero who was gunned down on duty in suburban Chicago, an Illinois police officer has since been found to have shot himself to death in a suicide staged to look like a homicide.

The determination that Fox Lake Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz committed suicide on Sept. 1 was made two months later by the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, following a massive search for three apparently fictional men whom the lieutenant reported he was pursuing in a remote area shortly before his death. Gliniewicz ordinarily did little work on criminal cases and made few arrests, according to the Chicago Tribune (reg. req.) and the Daily Herald.

He allegedly shot himself to death to avoid further scrutiny concerning claimed thefts from the Explorers youth police-training program he oversaw—and is even accused of having explored a potential contract hit on the village administrator, who was looking into the group’s finances, as a CNN article details.

The accusations have left the Fox Lake community reeling—and facing potential issues on multiple fronts.

In addition to an ongoing criminal investigation to determine whether anyone else may have been involved in the lieutenant’s claimed wrongdoing, a review of all criminal cases linked to Gliniewicz is being conducted by the Lake County state’s attorney’s office, reports the Chicago Tribune (reg. req.)

A bank account containing donations that poured in for the lieutenant’s family after his death has been frozen by BMO Harris Bank pending the results of a police investigation, another Chicago Tribune article reports.

And Fox Lake police department personnel procedures are being revamped by the new chief, WLS says, following news reports that a history of alcohol-related incidents and claims of sexual misconduct were included in Gliniewicz’s police personnel file. Another WLS story provides details and links to documents from the personnel file.

It is unclear exactly how the suicide determination will affect death benefits for the lieutenant’s survivors. However, a recent Illinois law which allows the state attorney general to take legal action to strip pensions from government employees who commit felonies on the job might be applicable to Gliniewicz’ death, the Daily Herald reports.

Related coverage:

Chicago Tribune: “Fox Lake pension board begins mulling benefits for Gliniewicz family”

Fox News: “‘Betrayed’: Some who donated to now-disgraced Illinois cop’s family want their money back”

NBC Chicago: “Prosecutors Review Cases Involving Lt. Gliniewicz”

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