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State

NIU police chief fired

DeKALB – Northern Illinois University Police Chief Donald Grady was fired Tuesday for his part in NIU police withholding evidence in a rape case against one of its officers.

Grady, who was lauded for his actions after the Feb. 14, 2008, shootings on the NIU campus, was placed on paid administrative leave Nov. 10. That was one day after DeKalb County Presiding Judge Robbin Stuckert ruled that Grady’s department purposefully withheld witness statements favorable to Andrew Rifkin, an NIU police officer accused of raping a student off-campus and off-duty.

Charges against Rifkin have since been dropped; Rifkin has filed suit against NIU, Grady, and three other NIU police officers who investigated his case.

Grady had been chief since 2001, and earned a salary of $205,987 a year.

Bill Nicklas the acting director of public safety at NIU, sent Grady a letter regarding his firing. In it, Nicklas said he did not believe Grady’s assertions that he wasn’t involved with hiding those documents.

“While I do not find your denials to be credible, even if true, at a minimum, your failure to supervise departmental personnel in this important case represents sufficient cause for dismissal,” Nicklas wrote.

Grady’s attorney, Michael Fox, told the Chicago Tribune that he will “fight this in every manner to show the injustice of what has now been done.”

“The allegations against Chief Grady are baseless and we will be able to prove that,” Fox told the newspaper. “I believe there may be other motives in operation here in regards to Chief Grady’s dismissal, and we will also be doing whatever we can do to demonstrate that as we go forward.”

Nicklas wrote that Grady knew, or should have known, that the evidence wasn’t properly turned over to prosecutors. Grady also should have recognized that allowing NIU police to investigate one of its own officers exposed the department to allegations of a conflict of interest, the letter states.

When Grady learned that Lt. Kartik Ramakrishnan had placed the two witness statements in Rifkin’s personnel file, he took no disciplinary action aside from reprimanding him.

Ramakrishnan remains on paid leave, and Darren Mitchell remains acting police chief.

“Right now we are dealing with the disciplinary case,” Nicklas said. “There’s no timeframe on this.”

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