Former Police Chief Charged For Beating Suspect Who Stole His Sex Toys And Video Porn

Former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke was arrested Wednesday on charges of taking revenge against a suspect who stole pornography, sex toys and other personal items from his SUV. The former police chief allegedly beat the suspect and threatened to kill him, then coerced his fellow officers to lie about the incident. Burke, 51, denies the charges, saying the suspect’s claims were fabricated.

As reported by the New York Times, the theft suspect, Christopher Loeb, was arrested following the break in of the police chief’s department issue SUV back in 2012, when he allegedly stole a gun belt, magazines of ammunition, handcuffs, a box of cigars and a humidor, along with a canvas bag containing, among other personal items, sex toys and video pornography.

Loeb pleaded guilty to a weapons charge, but has since filed a civil rights lawsuit against Burke and his department, saying he was first assaulted at his home by the police officers and was again beaten by Burke and other officers at the precinct.

Prosecutors told the judge that Burke allegedly threatened to kill Loeb with a heroin overdose and that he “went out of control.” The former police chief punched the suspect while screaming and cursing, when Loeb, referring to the porn and sex toys he had stolen, called him a “pervert.” Reportedly one of the detectives finally said, “Boss that’s enough, that’s enough.”

Burke has since been arrested by federal agents at his Long Island home on charges the former police chief violated the suspect’s rights by assaulting the man and then conspiring to cover it up. US District Court Judge Leonard Wexler ordered him detained until a bail hearing Friday, but in the meantime Burke’s lawyer has entered a not guilty plea.

The attorney, Joseph Conway, says Loeb’s claims were fabricated and Burke is looking forward to his defense, saying, “We believe the charges are unwarranted and will not stand up later in court.”

On the other hand, the attorney for the theft suspect, Amy Marion, says Loeb will continue to cooperate with investigators and that they look forward to seeing justice done. According to US Attorney Robert Capers, Burke influenced other officers in his department to lie about the incident, and the prosecutor told reporters to “stay tuned” on other possible arrests in future.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Capers wrote that, knowing Loeb was a heroin addict, Burke had threatened to kill him, “stating he would make sure Loeb received a ‘hot shot,'” which refers to a slang term for a fatally strong dose of heroin or one mixed with other chemical ingredients intended to kill.

It was allegedly at that point Loeb referred to the pornography he found in Burke’s canvas bag and referred to Burke as “a pervert,” unleashing more violence from the former police chief.

According to prosecutors, Burke also abused his authority when he entered Loeb’s residence. While officers searched for evidence, the former police chief retrieved his own canvas bag and other stolen items, thus jeopardizing a larceny investigation “solely to retrieve embarrassing articles.”

It was further alleged by the prosecution that, later that same day, Burke bragged to others in the police department about the assault on Loeb and, some days later, “regaled a group of officers with his account of the assault, saying it reminded him of his ‘old days’ as a young police officer.”

Since then, the former police chief has been under scrutiny over Loeb’s allegations and resigned from the police force in October this year after a 31-year career. Burke has since been charged with the deprivation of civil rights along with conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and could face more than five years in prison if convicted.

The bail hearing will go ahead Friday and will be closed to the public and press.

[Photo via Flickr by drpavloff/CC BY-NC 2.0]