Lawrence, KS — In an infuriating case of blue privilege, a cop, with mountains of evidence against him committing unspeakable crimes, will get to remain a cop — in spite of being arrested. To add insult to injury, this abusive cop is now suing the city for the unlawful search and seizure which was allegedly used to collect all the evidence against him.
The Lawrence Police Department, in February of 2015, gathered enough evidence against Officer William Jacob Burke, 34, to arrest him on felony charges of aggravated battery, criminal threat, aggravated assault, domestic battery, and kidnapping.
The evidence showed that Burke had beaten a fellow officer, choked her until she blacked out, and then chained her, naked, inside of a dog kennel.
Among the evidence collected were text messages from Burke to the female officer which read, “I’ve never hit a girl before. I beat you.”
“I’m not sure next time it won’t keep going,” read another.
Lawrence Journal-World published the findings from the city’s January 17th filing which detail the events as they unfolded. They are nothing short of horrifying.
During the incident, Burke slapped the woman harder than ever before and began choking her, she told investigators.
“When she started to see spots, she told Burke, ‘Stop’ as best she could,” the report says. “She reached up and tried to pull Burke’s arms away but she couldn’t and she blacked out.”
Having never been “strangled to unconsciousness” before, the woman told investigators she was scared. Shortly afterwards, Burke told her to join him downstairs, where he demanded she undress and get inside a dog kennel.
Burke then demanded the woman drink a beer and hand over her cell phone and password, she told investigators. He then “took a thick chain and wrapped it around the dog kennel to prevent her from leaving” and left her downstairs for several minutes.
When Burke returned he gave the woman another beer, told her he had looked through her phone and left again, she reported.
At this point the woman told investigators she was “shivering and tried to wrap herself in the towel at the bottom of the dog crate.”
Once more Burke returned, the report says. He lectured the woman “about how she should learn to keep her mouth shut and that she should not talk to anyone about their relationship.”
“Burke took a mallet and started swinging at the dog kennel,” the report says. “He hit the kennel numerous times and she was scared of the plastic cover breaking and the mallet striking her head.”
The next day, the female officer took pictures of her injuries which included hemorrhaging to her face and swelling. However, she told investigators that she “she was hesitant to report the incident” and that “Burke owned several firearms and had told her several times that he could kill her and that he knew people who could make her body disappear,” according to the report.
However, after another officer noticed her injuries, he reported it to a supervisor which led to the subsequent investigation and arrest.
Seems cut and dry, right? Officer Burke is probably sitting in a jail cell where he belongs, right?
Shortly after his arrest, the city, for unknown reasons and in spite of the evidence, decided not to file charges against Burke.
As Journal-World reported, Burke claims he resigned from his position as an officer after a Lawrence police captain called his attorney and said he would be given a “favorable disposition” regarding criminal charges if he were to step down.
Naturally, the city and Douglas County District Attorney, Charles Branson deny the allegations of giving Burke favorable disposition.
“We were never a party to any agreement or offer to that extent whatsoever,” Branson said.
However, as the Free Thought Project has reported numerous times, police officers accused of crimes are frequently allowed to quietly resign to avoid serious charges down the road. Months or weeks later, they are the rehired by other departments only to be caught committing more crimes. Case in point, Timothy Loehmann, the cop who killed Tamir Rice. Loehmann was let go from his previous job for being mentally unfit for duty. He was then quietly rehired months later at the department where he would go on to kill a child.
When asked why the city accepted Burke’s resignation in light of the probable cause leading to his arrest, Lawrence City Attorney Toni Wheeler declined to comment on the case, citing the pending litigation, according to Journal-World. Burke’s attorney, Theodore Lickteig, also declined to comment.
Aside from failing to comment, both the department and the city have refused to release the arrest affidavit in spite of the fact that Burke is a public servant.
Now, instead of rotting in jail for his horrific abuse, Burke is suing the city for $525,000, claiming that he was illegally searched and defamed. On top of the lawsuit, Burke also keeps his police officer’s license and can still work as a cop.
And so it continues — the brutal and corrupt cycle of blue privilege and unaccountability.