A black man got a plea deal with a reduced sentence after his attorneys revealed that an Arab-American officer that arrested him is a member of a suspected white supremacist biker gang.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Facebook posts show Chicago Police Officer Sean Najm is a member of the American Knights, a group that bills itself as a "law enforcement-oriented motorcycle club that promotes motorcycle riding with like-minded people" but has ties to the Aryan Knights, a white power prison gang.
Attorneys for black Chicago resident Edwin Brown brought up Najm's suspected neo-Nazi leanings years prior to the February start of his trial after noticing a discrepancy in an affidavit he filed in 2014. Upon researching the CPD officer, they discovered that his wife, who Najm said is black and Puerto Rican, made racist Facebook posts and appeared to have a tattoo of two people hanging from a tree.
They also learned about the Lebanese-American officer's pro-Confederate leanings that include being seen wearing a rebel flag patch — a fact Najm explained away by saying he's from the South, and considers it a symbol of pride rather than one of racism.
According to Settling for Misconduct, a project put on by the Chicago Reader alternative weekly newspaper, Najm has been named in three misconduct lawsuits that cost the city a total of $173,990 to settle.
When sentencing Brown, U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman noted the man had already spent three years in jail prior to his trial — "substantially more time than the 15 to 21 months that federal sentencing guidelines called for," the Tribune reported in February. He was sentenced to 18 more months in prison as part of his plea deal, and was placed under three years court supervision for the heroin-related charges.