Some citizens starting to question Grady, NIU Police Department’s integrity

By Robert Baird

Some DeKalb residents have become wary of NIU Police Chief Donald Grady, who was placed on administrative leave on Nov. 10, and are questioning the integrity of the NIU Police Department.

Last month, Clay Campbell, DeKalb County state’s attorney, requested Illinois State Police investigate the NIU Police Department and Grady.

“It concerned me,” Campbell said in a Nov. 29 Chicago Tribune article. “We’re dealing with a rogue police department.”

DeKalb resident Joe Heidbreder said he is skeptical of the entire situation with NIU and its police department.

“There has to be more going on than we know,” Heidbreder said. “Considering the coffee fund scandal and now the president planning on stepping down just when everything is getting chaotic, I think something bigger is happening that we don’t know about.”

Grady and NIU police officer Kartik Ramakrishnan allegedly withheld evidence in November 2011 during the sexual assault trial of Andrew Rifkin, a former NIU police officer. That evidence included witness statements claiming that the alleged assault was consensual. Ramakrishnan has said he accidentally misplaced the files.

Judge Robbin Stuckert dropped the case on Nov. 27 due to the department’s questionable integrity.

“It seems kind of backwards to me,” said DeKalb resident Chris Morecraft about the trial. “If Rifkin was one of their own officers, I don’t know why they would want to hide evidence that would prove he’s innocent. He’s one of their own.”

According to testimony from the trial, Grady had an information technology specialist copy, but not delete, 60 to 70 files from his police laptop shortly before his suspension, which has sparked even more scrutiny from Campbell regarding Grady’s integrity, according to a Nov. 27 Northern Star article.

“I’m completely appalled at the complete disregard of the Supreme Court’s mandate Brady v. Maryland,” Campbell said, referring to the judge’s ruling that the department had intentionally withheld evidence.

Grady is still receiving paychecks from the university. His annual salary is $205,987.92.

“He should not be getting paid still,” said DeKalb resident Keegan Botka. “He’s not servicing the community. Until he goes back to doing his job, why is he being compensated for doing nothing?”

Compensation while on administrative leave is standard operating procedure for NIU, and is also consistent with state law.

Illinois State Police, as well as the DeKalb County States Attorney’s office, will be reviewing and assisting all NIU police department cases throughout its investigation.

The DeKalb Police Department declined to comment on the issue.

In a Nov. 8 letter sent to the Northern Star, the sergeants of the NIU Police Department showed support for Grady.

“As sergeants of the Northern Illinois University Department of Police and Public Safety, we can attest to the incontrovertible integrity and commitment of Chief Grady… Every member of this department is dedicated to maintaining these high standards.”

On Nov. 16, a group of students delivered letters in support of Grady to NIU officials and administrators in hopes of garnering support from the NIU community, according to a Nov. 16 Northern Star article.