Local

Video shows Sycamore police ‘un-arrested’ Elgin officer

Sergeant held more than hour after booking, then released without charges

SYCAMORE – Video footage of the arrest of an Elgin police officer on suspicion of driving under the influence shows he was taken to the Sycamore police station, booked and put in a holding cell for more than an hour before he was released without charges.

Video of the stop, which began at 1:41 a.m. April 8 on Somonauk Street, shows Elgin police Sgt. Mark Whaley try to talk his way out of being arrested. The Sycamore officer who stopped him, Luke Kampmeier, was unwilling to cut him a break.

“Can I just park and walk home?” Whaley asked.

“Not an option,” Kampmeier replied.

Kampmeier, who wrote in his report that the Elgin officer was moving slowly and deliberately and had breath that smelled strongly of alcohol, then told Whaley to step out of his vehicle.

“Come on,” Whaley said on the video.

Video and audio from the stop, the booking room at the Sycamore police station and from inside a holding cell was released by Sycamore officials this week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Daily Chronicle. Sycamore Police Chief Glenn Theriault has been on paid administrative leave since April 10 as the city investigates the decision to let Whaley go without charges early that morning. Theriault, who joined the Sycamore force as chief in January 2015, worked closely with Whaley on the Elgin police force for years, Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda has said.

Theriault has not commented on the case, but has said in a message to City Manager Brian Gregory that he is confident “the outcome will be exonerated.”

Video from the police station’s booking area shows Kampmeier reading Whaley a “warning to motorist” notice, which outlines the possible consequences of submitting to or refusing chemical testing. According the warning, if a first-time offender refuses or fails to complete all requested chemical tests, his or her driving privileges can be suspended for a year.

Whaley appears to sign the form on the video about 2:23 a.m., but the city did not provide the form in response to the newspaper’s request. Afterward, Kampmeier asks Whaley whether he is willing to submit to a Breathalyzer; Kampmeier’s report about the incident indicates he refused.

TRAFFIC STOP VIDEO

Whaley speaks haltingly at times on the audio. When Kampmeier asked where he was coming from, Whaley said he had dropped his wife and daughter off and was heading home to Cortland, but then changed his story to say he was coming home from training.

Minutes into the stop, Kampmeier asked how much Whaley had to drink that night. Whaley responded that he had a beer about an hour earlier. He said he was a police officer and had no insurance card for the police-owned truck.

“I work for the city of Elgin,” Whaley said. “I’m a police officer. I’m just trying to get home.”

Whaley, a police officer for more than 20 years, told Kampmeier he didn’t have an insurance card for his unmarked police vehicle. He later exited the truck.

“You won’t submit to any testing of any kind?” Kampmeier asks. “I mean, I could smell the alcohol on you, you’re lying to me about where you’re coming from ... .”

“I’m not lying to you,” Whaley responds. “You saw where I was coming from.”

The intersection of State and California streets is near some of downtown Sycamore’s popular night spots.

After Whaley refused sobriety tests, Kampmeier arrested him on suspicion of DUI, handcuffed him and put him in the back of his squad car. Whaley was unarmed at the time, he said in the video.

Video shows Kampmeier and officer Blake Powers searching the vehicle, which was eventually towed by Accurate Towing of Sycamore. After Whaley was released, Theriault told police officials the $500 administrative towing fee for the vehicle should be waived, bypassing a hearing process prescribed by city code, records show.

Kampmeier and Whaley arrived at the Sycamore police station at 2:04 a.m., the video shows.

“UN-ARRESTED”

The booking process, including photographs, took around 20 minutes.

Kampmeier then told Whaley he would be put in a holding room until the paperwork was finished. The time stamp on the video from inside the cell shows Whaley was held for about 80 minutes. He was released shortly before 4 a.m. with his belongings returned to him.

Sycamore police Cmdr. Mike Anderson, who was on call that night, can be seen in the booking area at times on the video, including as Whaley was led out of the police station with a police vest and other property. Theriault, who had said in a text message he planned to go to the police station that night, does not appear.

However, phone records show that Theriault was on the phone with Elgin police Cmdr. Colin Fleury while Whaley stewed in the cell. They talked for 10 minutes at 3:24 a.m. and had two conversations lasting about a minute each not long after that, records show.

Records of a text message exchange with Kampmeier the next afternoon show Theriault commented the incident “Took longer than I thought! Tough position for you and all last night.”

Kampmeier wrote in his report about the incident that as he continued to observe Whaley, he decided to release him for lack of evidence, records show. Around 3:52 a.m., Anderson let Whaley out of the cell.

“The word is, we’re going to un-arrest you,” Kampmeier told Whaley as Anderson looked on, “and walk you out of here.”

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