AP review finds 31 police officers in 12 states are being investigated or have been charged in connection with the U.S. Capitol riot. Some may not have been involved in the violence but attended the rally that preceded it.
For two Virginia police officers who posed for a photo during the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection, the reckoning has been swift and public: They were identified, charged with crimes and...
?An Associated Press survey of law enforcement agencies nationwide found that at least 31 officers in 12 states are being scrutinized by their supervisors for their behavior in the District of Columbia or face criminal charges for participating in the riot. Officials are looking into whether the officers violated any laws or policies or participated in the violence while in Washington. A Capitol Police officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters descended on the building and many other officers were injured. A woman was shot to death by Capitol Police and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos.
Most of the officers have not been publicly identified; only a few have been charged. Some were identified by online sleuths. Others were reported by their colleagues or turned themselves in.They come from some of the country’s largest cities — three Los Angeles officers and a sheriff’s deputy, for instance — as well as state agencies and a Pennsylvania police department with nine officers. Among them are an Oklahoma sheriff and New Hampshire police chief who have acknowledged being at the rally, but denied entering the Capitol or breaking the law.
ADVERTISEMENT“If they were off-duty, it’s totally free speech,” said Will Aitchison, a lawyer in Portland, Oregon, who represents law enforcement officers. “People have the right to express their political views regardless of who’s standing next to them. You just don’t get guilt by association.” headtopics.com
But Ayesha Bell Hardaway, a professor at Case Western Reserve University law school, said an officer’s presence at the rally creates a credibility issue as law enforcement agencies work to repair community trust, especially after last summer’s of protests against police brutality sparked by the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Communities will question the integrity of officers who attended the rally along with “individuals who proudly profess racist and divisive viewpoints,” she said. “It calls into question whether those officers are interested in engaging in policing in a way that builds trust and legitimacy in all communities, including communities of color.”
In Rocky Mount, a Virginia town of about 1,000, Sgt. Thomas Robertson and Officer Jacob Fracker were suspended without pay and face criminal charges after posting a photo of themselves inside the Capitol during the riot. According to court records, Robertson wrote on social media that the “Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem … The right IN ONE DAY took the f(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.”
Attempts to contact the pair were unsuccessful and court records do not list lawyers. Leaders in Rocky Mount declined to be interviewed. In a statement, they said the events at the Capitol were tragic.“We stand with and add our support to those who have denounced the violence and illegal activity that took place that day,” said Police Chief Ken Criner, Capt. Mark Lovern and Town Manager James Ervin. “Our town and our police department absolutely does not condone illegal or unethical behavior by anyone, including our officers and staff.” headtopics.com
On the other side of the county, five Seattle officers are under investigation by the city’s Office of Police Accountability. Two officers posted photos of themselves on social media while in the district and officials are investigating to determine where they were and what they were doing. Three others told supervisors that they went to Washington for the events and are being investigated for what they did while there.
Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said his department supports officers’ freedom of speech and that those who were in the nation’s capital will be fired if they “were directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.”But police leaders need to evaluate more than just clear criminal behavior, according to Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a policing research and policy group. They must also consider how their actions affect the department credibility, he said.
Officers’ First Amendment rights “don’t extend to expressing words that may be violent or maybe express some prejudice,” Wexler said, “because that’s going to reflect on what they do when they’re working, when they’re testifying in court.”Through the summer and fall, Seattle police — along with officers elsewhere — came under criticism for their handling of
mass protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd.The city received more than 19,000 complaints against officers, most for excessive use of force and improper use of pepper spray.Andrew Myerberg, director of the Seattle Office of Police Accountability, said none of the officers now under investigation were involved in those cases. headtopics.com
But Sakara Remmu, cofounder of Black Lives Matter Seattle/King County, said the officers should be fired regardless. Their public declarations of solidarity with Trump fosters not just community distrust, but terror of the entire department, she said.
“It absolutely does matter when the decorum of racial peace cracks and racial hatred comes through, because we already have a documented history and legacy of what that means in this country,” Remmu said.In Houston, the police chief decriedand was later charged in the riot. A lawyer for Officer Tam Pham said the 18-year veteran of the force “very much regrets” being at the rally and was “deeply remorseful.”
But many chiefs have said their officers committed no crimes.“The Arkansas State Police respects the rights and freedom of an employee to use their leave time as the employee may choose,” department spokesman Bill Sadler said of two officers who attended the Trump rally.
Malik Aziz, the former chair and executive director of the National Black Police Association, compared condemning all officers who were in Washington to tarring all the protesters who took to streets after the killing of George Floyd with the violent and destructive acts of some.
A major with the Dallas Police Department, Aziz said police acting privately have the same rights as other Americans, but that knowingly going to a bigoted event should be disqualifying for an officer.“There’s no place in law enforcement for that individual,” Aziz said.Read more: The Associated Press »
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Get them all, hold them accountable. This has to stop, it is embarrassing to the USA. ACAB. Fire these pigs and arrest them edwebb Attending a rally = legal first amendment right. Entering Capitol building/being on the steps forcing your way in and injuring officers = committing a crime. Seems pretty clear cut to me. What’s the issue?
These are the same type of LEO's that shoot/choke unarmed citizens. Fire them then file charges DOUBT IT Are you trying to tell me... some of those that work forces... are the same that burnt crosses? Who could have predicted You should look into these officers to see if anyone of them were ever involved in hurting POC
Freedom to assemble We forget that right In the Capitol building one thing. Attending a rally is completely another So pathetic Ok assuming not all officers who went to the rally knew it would become a siege on the capital...Did any of the officers call for help when it was clear what was happening? Or did they just leave?
Nothing wrong with going to the rally. 99% of the people didn’t know that was going to happen and when they saw it they left. Abdnys Fire them, take away their pension and charge them! Throw those sad traitors in prison with some of the people they put there. This is wrong. So stupidity made many chiefs realize racists war unform.
ResistMonsters Seditionists must be jailed. So charge them and fire them. This isn't hard. Do cops need bn the definition of sedition spoon fed to them? So it is illegal for off duty police to attend any political rally CatsChocolates They deserve maximum charges and maximum prison time. Peaceful protest
You should scare the hell out of us Cops are natural Trumpers and white nationalists. Fire them all. They are getting investigated for going to a peaceful rally in another location supporting their President? This is clown world 🤡 . Fire them all It's not a surprise DallasCityMgr this is called LEADERSHIP: “ but that knowingly going to a bigoted event should be disqualifying for an officer. “There’s no place in law enforcement for that individual,” Aziz said. cmjsgates AdamBazaldua DavidBlewettD14 servedallas VoteAdamMedrano
I’m a public librarian. I’d be fired instantly. How do you determine that? That. Is. Not. A. Crime. And, frankly, none of your business. The First Ammendment gives them the right to peacefully assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 1st Amendment So if they were at the rally that proceeded it, they were involved. 🤷🏻♀️
So now people are being investigated for just being at the capitol on Jan 6th? People have the right to protest. Their occupation shouldn’t matter. OneMargaretx LockThemAllUp RemoveTheTraitors ConvictTrump ArrestTraitorsNow TrumpInsurrection ConsequencesForSedition ExpelTheSeditionists RemoveThemAll GOPSeditiousTraitors SeditiousGOP NoOneIsAboveTheLaw TrumpCrimesCommission RememberTheirNames
As professionals in the current political climate, they should have known better than to participate in such activity. Their presence emboldens white supremacy. PeoplesParty_US I’m shocked Better knock this sh!t off. Authoritarian suppression of rights & association. It’s a witch hunt... the media & government need to take a deep breath. The consequences of taking this too far could be devastating.
If they didn’t break any laws or rules then they shouldn’t be punished. Who doesn't believe that the police need reforming, now? If they attend a peaceful protest or any rally to express their political or personal views that’s their right. Period! If they’re actions incite violence or do/cause harm at a protest,that could be criminal. If they do what was done at the capital building, they’re terrorists.
in other news, water is wet Did those in attendance make any effort to stop the raging GOP mob's illegal activity ? 14th Amendment applies to every ONE in EVERY STATE, who have sworn oath to our Constitution, &gone against it through insurrection. THEY MUST BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE, THEY ARE UNFIT. Those who showed up at the Capitol that day, had planned to be there. &Those inside=JAIL!❤️⚖️😠
Is every person that attended a 'mostly peaceful' but violent rally in 2020, under investigation by local police ?