Suffolk Police Chief James Burke resigns

The news comes as the federal Eastern District of New York has reportedly reopened an investigation into Burke.

The news comes as the federal Eastern District of New York has reportedly reopened an investigation into Burke. (10/27/15)

WOODBURY - Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke is resigning, according to the office of the Suffolk County executive.

The news comes as federal investigators in the Eastern District of New York have reportedly reopened a probe into Burke.

A Newsday source says the investigation involves the arrest of a Smithtown man, Christopher Loeb, who was convicted of breaking into Burke's SUV.

An initial federal investigation into the arrest in 2012 did not turn up misconduct.

Christopher Loeb had said he was beaten by Burke, who initially showed up at the scene of his arrest and later at the precinct. Loeb was sentenced to three years for stealing a bag.

Joseph Conway, attorney for Burke, says "Chief Burke has served the citizens of Suffolk County, The Suffolk DA's Office, and the Police Department with professionalism and distinction for the past 31 years. After a stellar and courageous career, Chief Burke stepped down today and will officially retire at the end of this month for personal and family reasons. His decision to retire is unrelated to any speculation of a federal investigation. Chief Burke vehemently denies any wrongdoing whatsoever and looks forward to the next chapter of his life."

Burke's attorney says his client will continue to cooperate with the federal investigation.

Suffolk police officials named Stewart Cameron, the chief of support services, as acting chief of the department.

Jim O'Connor, who is running against incumbent County Executive Steve Bellone, was quick to criticize his opponent after Burke's resignation. He criticized Bellone's choice of Burke in the first place, accusing the outgoing chief of having a "checkered past."

In a statement, Bellone called O'Connor a desperate candidate and called his criticisms baseless.

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