Lt. Gliniewicz: “G.I. Joe” No More
I imagine I’ll remember September 1st of this year for a long time; it was the day that a police officer was said to have been mysteriously and fatally shot by three armed gunmen only a few miles away from our home.
I remember that evening well also. Spencer and I solemnly watched as 10 police officers went flying by us on Rand Rd., lights flashing, brave knights rushing into battle, or so we thought. And then, once we returned home, we sat holed up in our home, petrified that the armed murderers were, no doubt, about to blast their way through our back door.
It turns out, however, that there really were no menacing gunmen. At least that’s the conclusion that the crew of law enforcement investigators have reached. Their story is that police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz’s cause of death was actually a very carefully staged suicide brought on by his fear of being caught stealing and laundering money from a Police Explorers program intended to mentor local youth.
It’s odd though. I also seem to remember that, when the coroner on the case, Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd, said he thought there might be something more at play than a homicide committed by armed strangers, he was vilified and then promptly shunned by the same folks on the current investigative team. As a matter of fact, after the coroner dared to utter such a slanderous suggestion, he was cut out of the entire investigation; his calls to the leader of the investigation, George Filenko, went unanswered, and Rudd’s name was besmirched by some of the radical fringe of “Police Lives Matter” supporters.
How dare this man question how an experienced army veteran like Lt. Gliniewicz could have been taken by surprise with no sign of a fight: no scratches, bruises, broken bones, or even marks on the ground that might indicate that he had given his all to battle his murderers before their bullets ended his life? What a vile person to suggest that either Gliniewicz took his own life, or utterly trusted those who stood feet away from him and took his life from him.
The outraged cries of family friends and even perfect strangers followed shortly afterward, suggesting that the coroner be bludgeoned and pummeled for even considering such a scenario. Afterall, he was talking about someone the community had nicknamed G.I. Joe. Gliniewicz was a decorated police officer: a symbol of strength and honor in the community who gladly gave countless hours of his life to teach law enforcement to youngsters. He was, in fact, considered a “hero”.
Yet now, here we are two full months later and the story has changed significantly. Not only has it been determined that Lt. Gliniewicz took his own life, but that he did so because he was on the verge of being called out for embezzling funds from the Police Explorer program that he ran to the tune of 10s of thousands of dollars, and couldn’t stand the shame of his long-term criminal activity being broadcasted. And then, the other shoe dropped. His wife and one of his sons are now being investigated as well, as co-conspirators.
We’re told that the investigative team uncovered incriminating texts and Facebook messages such as the following.
May 13: Messages between Gliniewicz and Individual #1
- JG: “She hates me and I’ve never said more than 3 sentences to her in the year shes been here… hates the explorer program and is crawling up my ass and the program, chief wont sign off to move it to American legion and if she gets ahold of the checking account, im pretty well [expletive]”
- #1: “Hopefully she decides to get a couple of drinks in her and she gets a dui”
- JG: She does, but not around here and no one knows where. Trust me ive thought it through MANY SCENARIOUS from planting things to volo bog!!!”
Mighty shady messages being sent by someone heralded as G.I. Joe, assuming they’re real.
We’re being told as well that Gliniewicz may also have tried to hire a hit man to kill the village administrator so she would stop trying to pry into his accounting records, that he let unauthorized people drive his squad car, that he was charged with sexual harassment at one point, had cocaine packets in his desk drawer, and a myriad of other violations that belie the name G.I. Joe.
Here’s the deal. Who knows if the suicide conclusion is real. It could easily be, or it could be a cover-up to protect the former police chief or other local cops on the take. We’ll see what unfolds after some time. Either way, something immoral definitely went down.
Let’s assume that the suicide ruling is legit. There’s extreme fallout from this situation that shouldn’t just be swept under the carpet.
~ Three men, two white men and a black man, who had been talking nearby were put in harm’s way since Lt. Gliniewicz called in a report that he was pursuing a trio matching their description, most likely having seen them just before placing the call. Had they not followed police orders, they could have been shot. Thankfully, these men had “rock-solid” alibies and were eventually left alone.
~ Multiple schools in the surrounding area went on lockdown no doubt terrifying students, teachers and parents alike.
~ Helicopters buzzed suburban neighborhoods, instilling fear in hundreds of thousands of residents.
~ Hundreds of police personnel from neighboring towns left their posts and rushed in to help search for days for non-existent armed killers.
~ Roughly 25,000 man-hours have been spent trying to unravel what went down that fateful day. Thus far, our tax dollars have paid for $500,000+ of investigative work, and the investigation is still on-going.
~ And let’s not forget that friends, neighbors, and even strangers collected and donated money to help his family. What happens to that money now? What happens to it if his wife is found guilty as well?
~ What about the village administrator, Anne Marrin, pictured below, who was just doing her job, but now realizes that her life was in danger. How does she sleep? Will she continue to seek out errors and purposeful wrong-doing, or will she be too afraid to do so from here on out?
~ What about Gliniewicz’s kids? They not only have lost a parent, but still have to go to school and face the utter brutality of the situation their father left them in.
~ What if their mom and brother are also found guilty and go to jail? Was it worth the 50 grand? Was it money well-spent?
~ We can’t forget about the droves of citizens who publicly supported and then mourned Gliniewicz under false pretenses. The folks who believed him to be their G.I. Joe, and now have taken to scratching out that name on posters around town, and angrily replacing the “Joe” with “Joke”. This is what one local resident had to say about her family’s involvement, which she posted in the comment section of an online news article.
I live two miles from this and used to live in Fox Lake. This man not only stole thousands from the community when he was alive, he cost us a half million dollars in the search for the imaginary killers. It’s robbed the already broke state we live in of desperately needed resources. I feel the fool for crying over this man. My husband spent a ton of our money buying water for the poor officers who came from many, many miles around to conduct the search the night of his death. If there’s a hell, this man is surely roasting right now. I feel terrible for his children but suspect that his wife knew about his embezzling all along, especially since she wouldn’t really talk to the press after it happened. I’m sure she knew it was a suicide, too. I grew up taught to respect the police and authority, but it’s getting harder to keep that up when there are so many bad apples betraying our trust.
After this resident posted this comment, she was, naturally, called every foul name in the book by a super classy anonymous gentleman who apparently took issue with her statement. Such is the nature of online commenting. Cowards become bullies emboldened by anonymity.
~ Assuming Gliniewicz was guilty of the charges, his actions are a slap in the face to all principled police personnel at a time when they’re feeling beaten up already. If I were an honest cop, I’d be fuming.
~ And most importantly, he betrayed his community members whose taxes helped pay his salary, who trusted him, and, in many cases, even lauded him.
~ How many of those young Police Explorers he mentored do you suppose are going to want to be cops now?
You know what really matters?
Our actions matter.
What a crying shame.