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Local News

Internal investigation

Report shows Joliet police determined officer was guilty of crimes

A Joliet police internal investigation of an officer’s conduct that led to his arrest last year concluded that he recklessly discharged a firearm, committed domestic battery against his fiancée and criminally damaged her property, according to city records.

Heavily redacted records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show that on Sept. 27, 2017, an internal affairs investigation of police officer Nicholas Crowley’s conduct in July 2017 determined that his actions were unbecoming of a police officer.

The evidence gathered during the investigation showed “beyond a preponderance of the evidence” that Crowley recklessly discharged his firearm; committed domestic battery against his fiancée, police officer Cassandra Socha; criminally damaged her property; failed to notify the police of discharging his firearm; and failed to submit a written report.

The investigation stands in stark contrast to Crowley’s criminal case, where a grand jury declined to indict him on charges of domestic battery and criminal damage to property. Will County Judge Dan Kennedy then found Crowley not guilty of recklessly firing his gun after concluding there was “no direct evidence of how the gun was discharged.”

Socha failed to return calls Wednesday. Attempts to reach Crowley were unsuccessful. In response to multiple questions regarding the internal investigation, Joliet police Sgt. Darrell Gavin said in an email that the police “do not respond to details of internal affair investigation questions regardless if they are open or closed.”

Crowley was given a 30-day unpaid suspension about 10 months after the report.

Socha has filed a federal lawsuit against the city, claiming detective Edward Grizzle, during an investigation, “trawled” her cellphone while looking for evidence related to an investigation of harassment or intimidation via electronic communication. The lawsuit alleges that sexual photos of her and Crowley were accessed and shared with other officers.

During Crowley’s trial in May, his attorney, Jeff Tomczak, sought to limit evidence that could be introduced, such as statements Socha made during the internal investigations because they allegedly were coerced under the threat of her losing her job. In the internal investigation report, Socha was told by an interviewer she was a witness, not a target of the investigation into Crowley’s conduct.

The internal affairs report shows differences between what police determined and what Socha later testified to at Crowley’s trial. According to the report, Crowley retrieved his gun after Socha’s dog became agitated, and that he threatened to kill it; he then fired his gun, causing a bullet to go through the ceiling of their kitchen.

Socha was hesitant during the trial to confirm whether Crowley threatened to kill her dog, telling Special Prosecutor Lorinda Lamken that she believed that statement was “taken out of context.”

According to the internal affairs report, Crowley picked up a TV and threw it on the ground. Socha testified that she never said he broke the TV despite signing a domestic violence form alleging he did. When pressed by Lamken on details of the incident, she testified that she had been talking to internal affairs while “coming off of being intoxicated, and I was trying to protect my dog.”

According to the report, police were notified Crowley planned to meet with someone Aug. 30, 2017, in violation of an administrative order. Details of the incident were partially redacted.

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