Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fox Lake Police Officer Fakes Homicide

Joe Gliniewicz, a police officer who initially appeared to be a martyr under the Fox Lake police department, is now viewed as a betrayer. On September 1st, Joe Gliniewicz was reported dead when his body was found severely wounded at a corn field. During the alleged crime, Joe Gliniewicz was shot twice, once on his bulletproof vest (which protected him) and another time around his torso. The dilemma, however, was that it wasn't very clear who pulled the trigger, due to the fact that the only piece of evidence found at the crime scene was his gun. Not only that, but a source in the investigation said that it wasn't clear who actually fired the gun. Additionally, after 150 investigators spent 25 hours looking into the case, they couldn't find any trace of a plausible killer. As a result, there was a possibility that what appeared to be a homicide, might actually have been a self-inflicted death.

After further investigation, investigators recently found out that Joe had been participating in money laundering and had been stealing money from a police department program that helped kids become law enforcement officers. Joe had stolen up to 50,000 dollars and was using the money on "personal expenses, including mortgage payments, gym memberships, vacations and adult websites" (Source). Joe, however, finally decided to kill himself when he hit problems with new management that scrutinized his Explorers fund. He expresses in a text to an anonymous individual, "If she gets ahold of the old checking account, I'm pretty well f***ed" (Source). As a result, George Filenko, Lake County Major Crimes Task Force commander, could confidently say on Wednesday that, “George did alter the placement of his equipment at the scene in attempt to mislead first responders and investigators to believe this was a homicide" (Source).

Lake County Coroner Dr. Thomas Rudd said that, "I think he knew there was the possibility of incarceration and his view in the community would be greatly diminished" (Source). Joe was not only trying to protect his reputation, but his family's reputation as well. Do you think that Joe's decision to fake his death was justified in order to protect his reputation and along with his family’s reputation? People who invested money in the program that Joe stole from want their money back. Do you believe they are entitled to the stolen money they had invested? Should there be some form of compensation? What do you think?!

Picture - (Photo)


Virginia Hsiao said...

I think that this is an unfortunate case and that it is rather ironic that it unfolded the way that it did. Regarding the money, I believe that during purchases, individuals enter into a tacit agreement, in which a payment that meets the stated amount is expected to result in a fair return of goods or services that meets expectations. When such an expectation is not met or when the funds are not fairly used, then I think that such a “contract” is violated and that the individual who paid the unfair price should be compensated.

Regarding this case in general, I am surprised that he got away with money laundering and behavioral misconduct for so long. I would have expected that the state government (which I assume oversees state police) would have had more oversight over the finances and to have regulations that parallel how Congress and/or the executive branch oversees the actions of the agencies. To find out more, I tried to look up who was technically in charge of the program, but I seem to be able to only find who the members are and what programs they offer.
( Link for those who are interested 

Before the officer's actions were reported to be negative, the Daily Herald ran an article about the large cost of the investigation, which apparently used more than $300,000 from taxpayers; however, because many initially associated him with heroism, the article received backlash from many members of the community.
( Article :

In light of his deemed “betrayal” of the American people, does your perception of the cost change? Was such expenditure justified? Who do you think the responsibility falls on – the system for poor oversight or the officer for his inappropriate behavior?

Carolyn Ku said...

Gliniewicz committed a crime, and I agree with Virginia that the victim's of the crime -- those whose money was stolen -- should be compensated. Given that Gliniewicz is dead, the money he owes would either have to be paid by his family or come out of his estate ( This means that it is ultimately Gliniewicz's family that suffers the consequences of his money laundering and suicide. Thus, I don't think that Gliniewicz was justified in staging a homicide to "protect his family's reputation" because with him dead, it is his family's reputation, not his, that gets smeared. Gliniewicz's money laundering and suicide prove that he was only thinking of himself.

In regards to Virginia's question about whether the cost of the investigation was justified, I think that it was because it exposed the fact that Gliniewicz had been committing a crime. Had his crime gone unnoticed, it could have led to other people (whoever Gliniewicz had texted perhaps) getting away with more money laundering from the state; now, it's probable that there will be a crackdown on preventing money laundering in the future. Also, according to the Daily Herald article Virginia linked, most of the costs were for overtime payments because the police was trying to catch a killer (or so they thought), which I see as justifiable.

Horace He said...

I agree with what people have said so far. The policeman is definitely at fault in this case, and I don't think what he did could be considered particularly honorable. He messed up, made bad decisions, and should face the consequences for them. I remember reading somewhere that the real victims of a suicide aren't the person themselves, but their families, and his actions only pushed the problems to people who cared about him.

Langston Swiecki said...

With the knowledge that this was actually a suicide attempt, it is fairly easy to condemn this police officer as an immoral, selfish criminal. However, I view his final act as a last, desperate attempt at redemption in order to try and lessen the effect of his prior deeds on his family, even though this eventually backfired. Sure, he may have been making a last ditch effort to save his own dignity and not face the consequences of his actions, but this is innately tied to the legacy of his family, and thus an argument can be made that he knew his life was about to descend into misery and slander and wanted to instead have a try at redemption, however flawed. Additionally, the police department, going into the future, keep tabs on its officers and protect them from the darker nature that resides within them. It can highly tempting to steal when the money is sitting out on the table, but when someone is watching you, it forces a re-evaluation of the scenario and helps to ensure order and rational behavior. The family will have to pay for just compensation, a further casualty of criminal behavior and a system that needs to try harder to curb criminal behavior.

kristen said...

I think it's the most cowardly act to end your own life, faking it to be more heroic then in reality. Death to many of these people are probably a lot easier then facing the truth and consequences. Thus "taking this lies" all the way to the grave somehow is a choice available to Mr. Gliniewicz. I don't believe Mr. Gliniewicz's family is responsible for paying back the laundered money as they have no idea what he has been doing. I think the fact that there is that fear of not only shaming his family but also burdening with having to pay back the money caused him to run away even faster then what his conscience is telling him to do. Perhaps if the action and consequences of one individual is limited to that one individual, people like Mr. Gliniewicz can be more brave and face the truth. The state should bear the cost of the disaster. Not the family of Mr. Gliniewicz. The cost of the investigation is also justified. It tells a story if how the government at all level must implement better checks and balances for all of its processes, including its members. The police department that employs Mr. Gliniewicz should be under scrutiny, perhaps its management changed, because clearly they have failed to do their jobs.

Danny Halawi said...

Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments. Regarding Virginia's second question, in my opinion, not one party should be blamed for the whole thing. In the light of Gliniewicz's actions, he is obviously at fault because he chose to purposely take money from a police department program. Not only that, but he used the money to make his life a little more luxurious -- which in my perspective, at the bare least, is a little immoral. Also, the police department, should've done a better job to keep track of their program's money. Consequently, both are at fault; to say one is more at fault than the other though, is hard in my point of view.

Also, I agree with Langston's view that Joe's suicide was partially done in order to protect his family. Even if a big reason why Joe killed himself was to save his reputation, there is no avoiding the fact that his death also saved the reputation of his family as well. If Joe was to get caught, not only would he pay for his actions, but his family would as well. Thus, Joe's desicion to kill himself, could be partially justified, because he was trying to not let his criminal actions affect the people he loves.