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Village of Fox Lake disciplines three officers for official misconduct, other

violations stemming from December, 2014 incident involving an arrestee


Fox Lake officials release video from cellblock that captured the incidents, cite it as key
evidence in efforts to hold officers accountable
For Immediate Release
December 11, 2015
The Village of Fox Lake today announced that has disciplined three Fox Lake Police officers for
their role in a physical altercation that took place last December involving an arrestee in their
custody.
An investigation of the incident, launched in August, found that officers violated several
Department rules and regulations, including those governing use of force. The three officers
have accepted responsibility for their role in the incident, acknowledged their wrongdoing,
agreeing to the discipline imposed by the Village and are currently serving their suspensions.
A key component of the investigation, officials say, was video captured by two cameras
mounted in the Fox Lake Police Department cellblock, where the altercation took place.
On the video, officers are seen mishandling an intoxicated arrestee who was behaving
erratically. Video captured incidents where officers applied unnecessary force.
Some time after the incident, which took place on December 5, 2014, then chief of police
Michael Behan performed a superficial review and imposed discipline on one officer.
In August, Village Administrator Anne Marrin, with the support the Village Board, opened an
investigation to determine whether an initial inquiry into the incident performed by Behan was
thorough, complete and comprehensive.
The subsequent investigation revealed information that was not considered as part of the
original inquiry. Notably, the existence of video that captured officers pushing the arrestee into
a metal doorway while transferring him from one cell to another.

At a news conference today, Village officials released the cellblock video to members of the
news media.
Today, we are holding officers accountable for their actions. Our residents rightfully expect that
Fox Lake Police officers are treating members of the public with professionalism and respect at
every turn. By and large, that happens day in and day out in Fox Lake, said Marrin.
However, 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.
The Village Board supported re-opening the investigation. Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit said
that todays announcement signals a new commitment by the Village to thoroughly investigate
wrongdoing whenever it takes place.
Our community supports the good work officers do every day. We know their job is very
difficult, challenging and stressful and we are grateful for the service they deliver, said Schmit.
But our community also demands accountability whenever public employees fall short of the
high standards we place upon them. As disappointing as this news is, I am proud that we have
taken the proper steps to get at the facts so we can hold officers accountable and begin to move
forward.
The three officers received suspensions ranging from 10 to 30 days for their conduct violations
including willful mistreatment of others, conduct unbecoming, failure to report violation of rules,
failure to make a report and bringing discredit upon the Fox Lake Police Department, which
violates their oath of office.
The officers involved are:
Detective Jason Baldowsky, 17 years of service, will serve a 16-day suspension (he
previously served a 4-day suspension last December).
Police Officer Shane Campion, 4 years of service, will serve a 30-day suspension.
Police Officer Eric Ewald, 4 years of service, will serve a 10-day suspension.
The investigation into the role of a fourth officer remains ongoing partially because he has failed
to acknowledge that his actions during and following the incident are in violation of Fox Lake
Police rules and regulations. During the course of this investigation, other allegations have
arisen which require further inquiry.
Fox Lake officials said they have alerted the Lake County States Attorneys Office and the
Federal Bureau of Investigations regarding the status of the investigation.
On the morning of December 5, officers responded to a call of a suspicious person in the area
of 16 Lilac Avenue. The call resulted in the arrest of an intoxicated, homeless male.
After being escorted into a cell, the arrestee spit in one officers face. When in the cell the
arrestee repeatedly threatened officers. The arrestee also attempted to cover a video camera
mounted on the wall of the cell with various items of clothing.

When officers entered the cell to uncover the camera and remove the items of clothing, the
arrestee continued to behave erratically, prompting Detective Baldowsky to enter the cell, shove
the arrestee onto a concrete seating area, and place his hand around the arrestees neck. This
activity was captured by the in-cell camera.
The officers then decided to move the arrestee to a different cell, which had a camera that could
not be as easily covered. As he was escorted to that cell, officers pushed the arrestee into a
wall and a door, causing him to hit his head. This activity was captured by a camera mounted in
the cellblock hallway.
Later that evening, an officer who was not involved in the incident called the matter to the
attention of a sergeant, who in turn sent the information up the chain of command. At that time,
then Chief of Police Michael Behan began his own inquiry into the matter and ultimately
suspended Detective Baldowsky for four days. The suspension was served on December 2124 and on December 26.
In July, Village Administrator Anne Marrin became aware of information that led to questions
regarding the thoroughness of the initial investigation into the incident.
On August 13, just days after launching a new internal investigation into matter, Marrin, with the
support of the Village Board, placed Chief Behan and Detective Baldowsky on paid
administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal probe. Behan announced to the Board
his intent to retire just days after being placed on leave.
The investigator hired by the Village viewed video of the incidents in the cellblock, interviewed
the arrestee and all officers involved. He reviewed reports and documentation that were
produced as part of the initial probe conducted by Behan.
The internal investigation found that initial efforts to determine all that occurred were not
complete and failed to identify the full extent of the wrongdoing by all the officers involved.
While the behavior of these officers is disappointing, it is our obligation as leaders in Fox Lake
to investigate any potential wrongdoing in order to ensure our residents that any mistreatment
by them at the hands of police is not acceptable behavior, said Marrin.
Officials said the suspensions are currently being served and are being scheduled in a way so
as not to adversely impact operations.
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Contact:
Dave Bayless
312.533.0059
baylessdave@gmail.com