Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke is resigning as a federal probe reopens into the arrest of a man who broke into his department-issued SUV in 2012, according to a county spokesman and a source close to the situation.
The source says Burke, who has 30 years with the department, met with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone Tuesday morning after Bellone was informed that the federal probe into the 2012 arrest of Christopher Loeb was reopening. Bellone and Burke agreed in that meeting it was in the best interest of the police department for the police chief to retire, the source said.
The FBI initially opened an investigation in 2013 into Burke for allegedly beating and punching Loeb, who was arrested for breaking into the officer's car, which had been parked outside his home, the year before.
An attorney for Burke said last year the investigation had been closed. It wasn't immediately clear what prompted the FBI to reopen the investigation.
“We are confident that with the investigation re-opened that our client’s claims will be properly investigated and justice will be served,” Loeb's attorney, Amy Marion, told NBC 4 New York.
Neither Burke's attorney nor the FBI could immediately be reached for comment.
In a statement, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Edward Webber called Burke one of the "most outstanding supervisors, investigators and trainers in the history" of the department.
"Serving together with Chief Burke, we have brought down crime in Suffolk County by more than 20 percent during the past 3 ½ years," Webber said in a statement. " I thank him for his many years of dedicated service to the people of Suffolk County. The Suffolk County Police Department and all of its members will continue to do the exceptional work it has been doing for the past five decades, making Suffolk County one of the safest counties in our country."
Webber said Chief of Support Services Stuart Cameron has been designated acting Chief of Department and will be officially appointed to the position when Burke retires, which is expected to be in the next two weeks.