The supposed murder of Lt. Charles Joseph “Joe” Gliniewicz of the Fox Lake, Illinois Police Department on September 1, the massive, frenzied manhunt it generated and the eventual exposure of Gliniewicz’s death as a suicide is a small episode, but a telling one.
That Gliniewicz, nicknamed “GI Joe,” and hailed after his death as a fallen hero in the “war against the police” by a coterie of right-wing law and order fanatics, turned out to be a serial liar, thief, sex abuser and would-be murderer is only one element of the story and a subordinate element at that.
More generally, the incident reveals many aspects of what is truly reprehensible about official life in the US at present.
In public the American establishment is pious, law-abiding and patriotic. Butter would not melt in its collective mouth. Scratch the surface, however, and one finds greed and corruption, lying brought to almost supernatural heights and ruthless criminality.
On the morning of September 1, Gliniewicz informed a police dispatcher in Fox Lake, some 60 miles northwest of Chicago, that he was in pursuit of three males, two white and one black, acting suspiciously. Some 20 minutes later, a fellow cop found his body and reported, “We’ve got an officer down, an officer down.”
We now know that Gliniewicz, an expert at creating mock crime scenes, faked his own murder, apparently determined to go out a hero. He shot himself once in his bulletproof vest and once beneath it. He took his own life because his theft of tens of thousands of dollars from the Police Explorers, a program that teaches teenagers about police work (which he used for “travel expenses, mortgage payments, personal gym memberships, adult websites, facilitating personal loans and unaccounted cash withdrawals,” according to authorities), was about to be exposed by a city official.
In any event, with the discovery of Gliniewicz’s corpse September 1, the hysteria began.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers and a vast array of paramilitary equipment were poured into the area. Along with various local police departments, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI and the Secret Service were involved. A virtual state of martial law held sway in Fox Lake, a town of 10,000 people. Businesses were told not to open. Schools were closed and commuter trains halted. News photographs show snipers on rooftops, helicopters flying above, armored MRAPs, black combat Humvees. Heavily armed police carried out door-to-door searches, while the population was ordered to “shelter in place.”
As was the case in Boston, Ferguson and elsewhere, the Fox Lake operation had the character of a drill, a rehearsal for police-state rule.
The aggressive, provocative display of personnel and weaponry was one side of the equation. Just as significant was the ideological offensive set into motion. While the cops shut down most of Fox Lake, even on the day of the shooting they allowed pro-police demonstrators to stand along Route 12 holding up signs reading, “Police Lives Matter.”
A vigil was then held where the crowd chanted, “GI Joe!” A well-attended funeral took place. All of this under the banner of support for law enforcement and, “We stand with blue.” Gliniewicz was eulogized in glowing terms. An upstanding citizen, an example for the youth …
This gushing rubbish from the Associated Press was typical: “Charles Joseph Gliniewicz was on the brink of retiring after a 30-year career in law enforcement. At 52, the tattooed police officer with a shaved head could still be tough and intimidating if the job called for it.
“But he also had a sweet side that endeared him to the suburban Chicago village he had served for decades, a place where he was a constant presence at community events and a role model. …
“Earlier Wednesday, longtime friend Tammy Rivette wiped away tears as she remembered the father of four sons who was ‘always helping people’ and ‘always fair.’ ‘Even the criminals liked him,’ she said.”
The Daily Beast notes, “GI Joe was honored on the floor of the U.S. Senate by Dick Durbin of Illinois. The officer’s image was splayed on a video screen at Soldier Field during a Chicago Bears game. Little girls operated lemonade stands to raise money for the Gliniewicz family. At least one man paid for a tattoo to have the fallen cop memorialized.”
What a disgusting fraud!
The alleged killing of Gliniewicz was added to the shooting of Harris County, Texas sheriff’s deputy Darren Goforth a few days earlier, and a “war on police” was invented. Rotten political operators all over the country lifted their voices: this was the consequence of protests against police violence, this was where criticism of killer cops had led to!
Aging demagogues like Pat Buchanan came out of the woodwork. The deaths of Goforth and Gliniewicz demonstrated, according to Buchanan, that “some of the evils of the last century we thought we left behind seem to be returning, as is the old indulgence of lawlessness when done by those claiming some ‘grievance’ against society.” He harked back to the good old days of the Reagan era, which, in fact, have never gone away, when “[M]uggers, robbers, rapists, killers were taken off the streets and put away for decades.”
The vileness knew almost no bounds. Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke told Lou Dobbs on the Fox Business Network, “War has been declared on the American police officer.” On Twitter, Clarke asserted: “Time to take to the streets to counter Black LIES Matter. Fox Lake, Illinois.” This was a thinly disguised appeal for violence against protesters, if not lynch-mob actions. Fox’s Bill O’Reilly declared that Black Lives Matter “and other radical groups” had set out “to demonize the police.”
Ron Hosko, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund and former assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, published a right-wing diatribe in USA Today, “After murder of Charles Gliniewicz & Darren Goforth, no more blue blood.”
Hosko wrote, in the widely circulated article, “Despite the current lack of hard data and empirical evidence in both the murder of deputy Goforth and the broader spike in violent crimes across the country, concluding that both stem from the anti-cop themes from such protesters, liberal politicians and the mainstream media is hardly counterintuitive.”
Not only is there no “hard data,” there is no data of any kind. The war going on between the police and the American population is entirely one-sided.
As the WSWS recently reported, the number of people killed by police officers in the United States surpassed 1,000 last week. Meanwhile, according to Mark J. Perry, a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus, “2015 is on track to be the safest year for law enforcement in the US since 1887 (except for a slightly safer year in 2013), more than 125 years ago.”
In his piece, carried on the conservative American Enterprise Institute web site, Perry notes, “From a peak of more than 100 police shootings in every year between 1969 to 1980 (except for 1977 when there were 97 deaths), firearm-related police fatalities have been on a downward trend for the last 35 years, falling to only 31 in 2013 and now on track to reach 35 by the end of this year (based on 24 police deaths during the first 251 days of 2015).”
When did police suspect that Gliniewicz had faked his own murder? One has every right to be skeptical that they only determined the true facts of the case two weeks ago. As early as eight days after the Fox Lake cop’s death, Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd indicated he could not rule out suicide. On October 1, Rudd revealed that Gliniewicz’s gun was the “murder weapon,” bringing down on him a torrent of abuse from the police, who claimed Rudd was putting the entire investigation “in jeopardy.”
The authorities claimed they needed two months to go through Gliniewicz’s emails and text messages and piece the case together. More likely, they needed the time to sort out their damage control strategy.
The statement released by the Lake County’s Sheriff Office is damning. The joint police task force’s investigation “has concluded, with an overwhelming amount of evidence that Gliniewicz’s death was a carefully staged suicide. We have determined this staged suicide was the end result of extensive criminal acts Gliniewicz had been committing. … The investigation found that Gliniewicz had been stealing and laundering money from the Fox Lake Police Explorer Post. This had been occurring over the past seven years.”
As soon as this news broke, the media suddenly discovered that “GI Joe” was no model citizen or cop. His personnel file revealed that Gliniewicz “had been suspended numerous times, and was accused of sexual harassment as well as intimidating police dispatchers including once with guns,” according to People magazine.
To give him credit, the Fox Lake cop seems to have been an indefatigable and resourceful scoundrel. Gliniewicz, the great patriot, alleges WGN television in Chicago, “who was married, had an affair with a woman. He later arranged to have that woman marry his son, D.J. Gliniewicz, who is in the army in order to boost the military benefits for D.J., since being married could add up to thousands more per year.” This kind of thing cannot be made up.
Gliniewicz’s text messages reveal that he was extremely nervous about Fox Lake Village Administrator Anne Marrin’s investigation into the Explorer program. In one text exchange with an unnamed correspondent, the latter said of Marrin, “Hopefully she decides to get a couple of drinks in her and she gets a dui [sic],” i.e., that Marrin should be framed for driving under the influence. Gliniewicz replied, “Trust me I’ve thought though MANY SCENARIOS from planting things to the volo bog [sic].” The Volo Bog is a nearby nature reserve where Gliniewicz presumably considered dumping Marrin’s body. There are reports that he approached members of a motorcycle gang about a “hit” on the town’s administrator.
The collapse of the Gliniewicz case and its exposure as a miserable hoax will not stop the verbal and physical violence. The driving forces of the ongoing police murder campaign are the impossible social and economic conditions in America, the inevitability of a mass popular explosion and the need of the ruling elite to suppress that explosion by any means necessary. The Gliniewicz case should serve, however, to further inoculate layers of the population against the fabrications and manipulations of the media and political punditry. These types have been exposed once again for the well-paid prostitutes they are.