The former head of the Suffolk County Police Department was indicted today for violating the rights of a handcuffed robbery suspect. The suspect had broken into and removed items from ex-Police Chief James Burke's Suffolk County car, and Burke is accused of attacking him in an interrogation. U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said, “We entrust our law enforcement officials with the tremendous responsibility to uphold the Constitution and protect the communities they serve as they enforce the law. Wearing a badge is a privilege and honor—not a license to exact retribution and corrupt the administration of justice."

Burke resigned last month during the probe into his behavior. Today, the indictment was unsealed and the Eastern District U.S. Attorney's office released a statement about Burke's arrest as well as the circumstances leading to it:

According to the indictment and court filings, on December 14, 2012, New York State Probation Department and Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) officers arrested probationer Christopher Loeb at his mother’s home in Smithtown, New York, for a variety of probation violations. During the arrest and search of the Loeb residence, officers discovered a large cache of merchandise stolen from over a dozen vehicles, including an SCPD-issued SUV operated by Burke. Among the items taken from Burke’s SUV was his gun belt, several magazines of ammunition, a box of cigars, a humidor, and a canvas bag that contained toiletries, clothing, and other items.

Burke was permitted to enter the Loeb residence and retrieve the canvas bag and several other articles, even as the search was underway. He then drove to the SCPD’s Fourth Precinct in Smithtown where detectives had begun interrogating Loeb. Burke entered the interrogation room where Loeb was handcuffed and chained to an eyebolt fastened to the floor. Burke then allegedly punched and kicked Loeb in the head and body.

Subsequently, Burke and others allegedly pressured the detectives who witnessed the assault to conceal the event. Those efforts continued even after the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office opened an investigation of the assault in May 2013. In one instance, Burke summoned detectives under his command to SCPD headquarters in Yaphank, New York, to persuade the detectives to agree on a false version of events that would conceal the assault. In October 2013, one of those detectives allegedly testified falsely under oath in a state pretrial hearing in the Loeb prosecution, denying that Loeb had been assaulted.

In November 2013, Loeb testified that there was "nasty porn" in Burke's duffel bag.

Burke, who was charged with one count of deprivation of civil rights and one count of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice, will be arraigned this afternoon. A Newsday timeline notes milestones in his career, the time an "internal affairs probe admonished Burke for twice losing his police-issued service weapon and carrying on a sexual relationship with a felon known to be actively engaged in criminal conduct including the possession and sale of illegal drugs, prostitution and larceny."

Loeb, who has filed a federal lawsuit against Suffolk County, told Newsday today, "I’m glad justice is prevailing. The truth is going to come out. I’m going all the way with this and I’m cooperating with investigators all the way through ... He deserves what he is getting. I’m not a choir boy and what I did was wrong. I paid my dues and I did my time. I’m moving forward with my life.”