Fox Lake disciplines 3 officers in 2014 jail altercation, releases video

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Friday, December 11, 2015
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Fox Lake village officials have released video of a 2014 incident involving a detainee that resulted in disciplinary action against three police officers.

FOX LAKE, Ill. (WLS) -- Fox Lake village officials have released video of a 2014 incident involving a detainee that resulted in disciplinary action against three police officers.

Fox Lake Village Administrator Anne Marrin said an internal investigation found Fox Lake police officers treated a detainee in a manner that violated several department rules, including those governing use of force.

A 36-year-old man was arrested after officers responded to a call at 16 Lilac Avenue in Fox Lake, Marrin said. Marrin said the man was intoxicated and disobeyed commands from officers as he was processed into a cell early in the morning of December 5, 2014.

An altercation was captured on jail cameras when four officers entered the detainee's cell to remove articles of clothing he had used to block a camera within the cell.

On the video, Officer Jason Baldowsky is seen entering the cell and arguing with the detainee before grabbing him by the neck and shoving him into a corner. Later, that same detective is seen flipping the man onto his back before shoving him in the face. While the man was being transferred to another cell where he could not reach the camera, cameras capture the detainee's face getting smashed into a door.

"Fox Lake police officers treated an arrestee in a manner that violated our rules and regulations, and the standards placed on us by the public we serve," Marrin said.

When the detainee was released the next day, Marrin said he was offered medical attention and the option to file a complaint. He declined both.

"His declination, however, does not eliminate officers' duty to act with restraint and keep their emotions in check. More importantly, it certainly did not justify a failure to report or investigate this incident," Marrin said.

Baldowsky admitted responsibility and is serving a 20-day suspension, Marrin said. Two other officers seen in the video were issued 10-day and 30-day suspensions. A fourth officer - seen on the video attempting to pull Baldowsky away from the detainee - has denied culpability in the incident and that aspect of the investigation continues, Marrin said.

Marrin said she first became aware of the incident in March 2015 after Fox Lake Police Chief Michael Behan told her an incident had occurred and one of the officers had been disciplined.

"Whenever we become aware that officers may have violated our rules and regulations or have mistreated a citizen, it is our job to investigate it thoroughly, follow the truth and hold responsible parties fully accountable," Marrin said.

The village launched an internal investigation in August 2015, including a full review of video evidence and officer interviews, citing concerns about how the incident had been handled by Behan.

At that time, Chief Behan and another officer were placed on paid administrative leave. Less than a week later, Behan announced his retirement.

It was around that same time that another investigation threatened to expose an embezzlement scheme being carried out by another officer, Lieutenant Joe Gliniewicz. To avoid being caught, investigators said he staged his own suicide as a police-involved shooting.

"I think it was a coincidence; Gliniewiscz had nothing to do with what happened in that jail cell," Marrin said.

Marrin said she has personally apologized to the detainee for the incident and the village has offered him a $4,000 settlement as "fair compensation".