FBI arrests former Long Island police chief over malicious beating of suspected car burglar
The FBI on Wednesday arrested James Burke, a former police chief of New York’s Suffolk County, for beating a man suspected of breaking into his car in the latest accusation against a U.S. law enforcement officer of violence, according to local media.
Burke, who resigned in October as police chief amid a federal investigation of the 2012 incident, was expected to be arraigned in federal court in Suffolk County on Long Island. He surrendered to FBI agents at his home, local media reported.
U.S. Attorney Robert Capers declined to comment on the case, including what charges Burke faces. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Burke’s lawyer, Joseph Conway, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Burke’s 31-year career in law enforcement ended as federal authorities probed allegations that he beat a suspect accused of stealing a duffel bag from his car in 2012.
The suspect, Christopher Loeb, filed a federal lawsuit against Burke and the county in February. The lawsuit said Loeb was “beaten, terrorized, chained to the floor and threatened” by Burke and other police officers.
Suffolk County includes the eastern portion of Long Island and is home to about 1.5 million people.
Burke’s arrest comes amid the trial of a Chicago police commander, Glenn Evans, accused of putting the gun in a suspect’s mouth, and after the arrest of another Chicago police officer for murder following the release of a 2014 squad car dashboard video showing him shooting a suspect 16 times.
High-profile killings and beatings of suspects by law enforcement officers in U.S. cities have prompted a national debate and protests about the use of excessive force by police.
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)