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NIU appeals ruling reinstating police lieutenant

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – Northern Illinois University officials are taking more court action as they seek to fire a police lieutenant who a local judge said hid evidence favorable to an NIU police officer accused of raping a student.

NIU officials are appealing the State Universities Civil Service System Merit Board decision reinstating Lt. Kartik Ramakrishnan, court records show. NIU officials filed a complaint Oct. 21 asking that Ramakrishnan be fired and ordered to return any back pay he received because of the merit board’s decision.

When he was fired in April, Ramakrishnan was the third-in-command at the NIU police department with a salary of $92,000 a year.

The merit board found NIU couldn’t fire him because then-Police Chief Donald Grady wrote him up for the same conduct. Grady gave Ramakrishnan a written reprimand at 7 p.m. Nov. 9, 2012, a week after DeKalb County Presiding Judge Robbin Stuckert ruled on the issue and about a year after Ramakrishnan placed written witness statements from the rape case in the wrong file. Grady was fired Feb. 19.

Grady’s attorney, Howard Levine, has said Grady waited for the results of a polygraph test Ramakrishnan volunteered to take before issuing the reprimand, but NIU officials argue in court records that the reprimand wasn’t valid discipline.

“Rather, the purported ‘reprimand’ was a sham concocted by Ramakrishnan and then-Chief Grady – who was also implicated in Ramakrishnan’s misconduct – hours after Grady had been notified that the Police Department had been reorganized as a result of Judge Stuckert’s ruling,” NIU’s complaint states.

In the complaint, NIU also alleges that Ramakrishnan was fired not just over the mishandled evidence, but also over other violations of department policy and because he lied under oath about the mishandled evidence.

The new case is scheduled for an initial hearing before Judge William Brady on Jan. 21.

Ramakrishnan’s attorney could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Jerry Blakemore, NIU vice president and general counsel, could also not be reached for comment.

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