Retired Chicago cop charged with threatening Fox Lake investigators

  • Joseph A. Battaglia

    Joseph A. Battaglia

  • Charles Joseph Gliniewicz

    Charles Joseph Gliniewicz

 
Updated 9/13/2015 10:59 PM

A retired Chicago police officer has been charged with making threats against officials investigating the death of Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz.

Lake County sheriff's spokesman Chris Covelli confirmed that Joseph A. Battaglia, 54, of the 5600 block of West 103rd Street, Oak Lawn, has been charged with two counts of felony disorderly conduct.

 

He is being held in the Lake County jail on $100,000 bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday.

"We will not tolerate any behavior which disrupts our investigative efforts," Lake County Undersheriff Raymond Rose said. "Any intentional criminal acts to distract or impair our investigation will be actively investigated and turned over to the Lake County state's attorney's office for prosecution."

According to the Lake County sheriff's office, Battaglia called the Lake County coroner's office about 2 p.m. on Friday. Battaglia, who authorities said blocked his telephone number to prevent his identity from showing up on Caller ID, said he was a "retired police officer" and threatened to harm all of the members of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, as well as other investigators, including Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd and coroner's office employees, unless Gliniewicz's death was declared a suicide, the sheriff's department news release said.

The sheriff's office said Battaglia called other police agencies and several media outlets over the last several days.

An arrest warrant was issued for Battaglia on Saturday. Lake County sheriff's detectives arrested him at his home.

Further investigation into Battaglia's telephone calls will continue and additional charges are possible, authorities said.

Authorities stressed that Battaglia has had no involvement in the investigation of Gliniewicz's death.

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The arrest comes after police investigating Gliniewicz's death have warned Rudd to stop releasing unconfirmed information that could "jeopardize" their case.

Rudd told media outlets Gliniewicz died because of a single, "devastating" gunshot wound. The coroner refused to say where Gliniewicz was shot or whether the veteran officer was hit with other shots, but he later told other media outlets Gliniewicz was shot in the torso.

Rudd also said he hasn't issued a final report on the manner of death -- homicide, suicide or accident -- because he hasn't received a final report from the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force. He said he is leaning toward ruling the case a homicide, but he added the evidence he has now is incomplete.

In a news conference Thursday, Covelli joined Lake County Major Crime Task Force Cmdr. George Filenko in reiterating that further details are not ready to be released to the public.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"There are still crucial pieces of evidence being analyzed by the crime lab where we don't have results, and we're not close to the point of reaching the conclusion," Covelli said.

It's been nearly two weeks since Gliniewicz, a 30-year police veteran, was found dead of a gunshot wound at the east end of Honing Road, and investigators said they are continuing to search for three suspects.

Gliniewicz, 52, radioed a dispatcher that he saw three men -- two white and one black -- acting suspiciously at 7:52 a.m. Sept. 1, authorities said. He called back three minutes later saying the men ran into a swampy area and that he was in a foot chase and needed backup.

Officers found Gliniewicz 14 minutes later, about 50 yards from his vehicle. He was pronounced dead at 8:25 a.m.

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