NIU police chief on leave, officer to be fired amid trial scandal

NIU Police Chief Donald Grady (from NIU.edu)

NIU Police Chief Donald Grady (from NIU.edu)

The chief of the Northern Illinois University police department is on leave over the department’s handling of a sexual assault case.

Donald Grady has been NIU Police Chief since 2001.  He was placed on paid administrative leave Saturday, November 10, 2012 pending the finalization of disciplinary charges against him. 

NIU Police Lieutenant Kartik Ramakrishnan is expected to lose his job as part of the case.

Ramakrishnan is accused of intentionally withholding evidence in the case of former NIU police officer Andrew Rifkin, who is accused of sexually assaulting a student at the university in October 2011.  Rifkin has pleaded not guilty to felony sexual assault.  

 Ramakrishnan reportedly failed to surrender witness statements from two people who said the victim had a consensual relationship with Rifkin.   Ramakrishnan said he put the statements in Rifkin’s internal personnel file instead of turning them over to prosecutors and defense attorneys. 

Ramakrishnan began working for the department in 2002 and is a graduate of NIU.

Rifkin’s trial on the sexual assault charge is underway and the judge in the case ruled the trial could continue despite the omitted evidence.

“The findings of the court called into question the integrity of the criminal investigatory process, and we cannot under any circumstances tolerate such clear breaches of contracts, authority and responsibility,” said NIU President John Peters. “Although it pains me greatly that the university had to take these actions today, we must always strive to do the right thing.”

Deputy Chief of Police Darren Mitchell will serve as acting police chief.  Mitchell has been with NIU Police since 2000.

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