Two more officers are off Northern Illinois University's Police Department after one of their own was accused of sexually assaulting a student last year. One of those officers is Lieutenant Kartik Ramakrishnan, the other is Police Chief Donald Grady. Grady has already been replaced.
On Friday, the university's President John Peters decided the Public Safety Department would answer directly to him, that's according to the department's new acting director Bill Nicklas. Into the weekend, Nicklas informed Lt. Ramakrishnan and Chief Grady that they've been placed on paid administrative leave. This all stems from the pending court case The People of the State of Illinois v. Andrew Rifkin. Rifkin is a former NIU police officer who allegedly assaulted a student off-campus. He was charged with this crime a little over a year ago.
Grady's accused of breaching his contract and the discharge process has begun for Ramakrishnan due to their conduct during this case. The court has found that the actions taken by the NIU police department were "egregious" and "a purposeful hiding of information." Last week, a DeKalb County State's Attorney's Office press release stated that State's Attorney Clay Campbell is requesting that the Illinois State Police conduct an investigation of the NIU Police Department because of these findings. The press release says, "The evidence which was withheld and not turned over to the State's Attorney's Office arguably exonerates the defendant."
An acting Police Chief has been named, Deputy Chief Darren Mitchell. He's been with the department since 2000, and he's already showing leadership.
"You don't normally find circumstances that happen like this, so now what we want to do is we want to start the healing process for the members in the department that are somewhat anxious and confused to a certain degree." -says Mitchell.
Nicklas says Grady's actual charges will be given to him after a review of what Grady said in court is finished up. Once Lt. Ramakrishnan is served with his discharge he can request a hearing. Chief Mitchell says he plans to establish a trusting relationship with the student body by focusing on the positive things the department has accomplished.
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