A Chicago police officer will not be fired for socializing with members of the far-right Proud Boys and failing to notify officers that he was under FBI investigation, the city’s watchdog announced Friday.
According to the Office of the Inspector General’s most recent quarterly report, Officer Robert Bakker was instead suspended for 120 days after a lengthy internal investigation was resolved through a “mediation agreement” in which he agreed not to contest the allegations against him.
Bakker was not named in the report, but the Sun-Times has previously reported on the investigation and his association with the Proud Boys, an extremist group now at the center of the sprawling criminal investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the United States Capitol.
Vice reported on his ties in May 2020, sparking the investigation. The initial reporting was based on leaked chat logs that showed Bakker communicating and organizing meetings with members of the Proud Boys, a hate group designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Canadian government.
Bakker previously told the Sun-Times that he was never a member of the group, but he did not deny his participation in a Proud Boys Telegram channel.
Bakker was critical of a rainbow-colored police emblem that the police department posted on social media to celebrate the LGBTQ community, according to the chat logs. “I’m not wearing any rainbow bull – – -,” he declared.
Bakker did not respond to a request for comment on Friday. Neither did officers from the police department.
According to the report, the department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs previously determined that Bakker failed to submit a written report explaining his FBI investigation and recommended a five-day suspension.
Other allegations, such as Bakker’s association with known criminals and Proud Boys members, were not proven.
According to the report, the inspector general’s office urged the department to revisit the investigation in November 2020 “to address deficiencies materially affecting the outcome.”
The inspector general’s office concluded that the internal affairs bureau “failed to account for all available evidence,” and that Bakker may have discredited the department by making contradictory statements to the FBI and the BIA.
However, rather than reconsidering the initial allegations, as requested by the inspector general’s office, the internal affairs bureau raised new concerns. Some allegations, such as Bakker “making a contradictory statement” about his role in a Proud Boys’ chat group and lying about attending a barbecue sponsored by the group, were upheld, while others were not.
The case was settled through mediation, but the inspector general’s office urged Supt. David Brown to review the evidence and determine whether Bakker violated departmental rules by lying and making contradictory statements.
According to the report, Brown did not respond but approved the roughly four-month suspension.
Bakker was the subject of multiple internal investigations, including one into allegations of sexual abuse, according to the Sun-Times last June. It is unknown whether those investigations have been completed.
According to city records, he currently earns $95,586 per year.
Leave a Reply