County police chief in N.Y. resigns amid probe into beating allegations

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 27, 2015 5:42 PM

By Joseph Ax

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A county police chief on Long Island, New York, resigned on Tuesday amid an ongoing federal probe into whether he beat a suspect accused of stealing a duffel bag from his car in 2012.

James Burke, the chief of Suffolk County, one of the state's largest by population, stepped down on Tuesday after a 31-year career, his attorney confirmed.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the beating allegations, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Burke's lawyer, Joseph Conway, said in a statement that Burke's resignation was for "personal and family reasons."

"His decision to retire is unrelated to any speculation of a federal investigation," Conway said. "Chief Burke vehemently denies any wrongdoing whatsoever and looks forward to the next chapter in his life."

The suspect, Christopher Loeb, filed a federal lawsuit against Burke and the county in February, claiming he was "beaten, terrorized, chained to the floor and threatened" by Burke and other police officers.

Suffolk County includes the eastern portion of Long Island and is home to approximately 1.5 million residents.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by James Dalgleish)