While the behavior of many of the police officers who faced the enormous mob of Trump supporters and QAnon adherents at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 has been lauded—cops like Eugene Goodman, the Black Capitol officer credited with leading the violent insurgents away from the Senate chambers—it’s hard to forget the images of some officers who looked quite cozy with the attackers.
In fact, a frequent excuse of many of the insurrectionists now charged with unlawful entry into the federal building is that police officers there opened the doors and let them in.
Investigations were launched within the U.S. Capitol Police, probing whether officers in its ranks in fact acted inappropriately on Jan. 6 and now, according to a report from CNN, six Capitol police officers have been suspended with pay for their actions during the riot, and 29 more are under investigation for the same.
“Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman has directed that any member of her department whose behavior is not in keeping with the Department’s Rules of Conduct will face appropriate discipline,” department spokesman John Stolnis said on Thursday.
The aforementioned selfie cop appears to be one of the Capitol officers to be disciplined with paid suspension.
One of the suspended officers took a selfie with someone who was part of the mob that overtook the Capitol, according to Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat from Ohio. Another wore a “Make America Great Again” hat and started directing people around the building, Ryan said.
Last month, Pittman said the department “has been actively reviewing video and other open source materials of some USCP officers and officials that appear to be in violation of Department regulations and policies.”
I’d think the consequences should be more severe than suspension if officers are found to indeed have carried out the galling behavior of enabling the insurgents, especially since several of the officers’ so-called brothers in blue were beaten by the mob that day with everything from flag poles to fire extinguishers—the latter of which is reported to have caused the fatal injury to Brian Sicknick, a Capitol officer who died in the insurrection.
But then again, police in this country are notorious for escaping anything but the mildest accountability (if that). And the chumminess of some police with the white supremacists who broke into the Capitol isn’t all that surprising, given that cops from all over the country traveled to D.C. to join the mob.
Meanwhile, the union representing Capitol Police officers last week issued a no-confidence vote for several top leaders in the department who they say failed them in preparing for the insurrection. According to NPR, acting Chief Pittman received a 93 percent no-confidence vote and USCP Captain Ben Smith drew 97 percent.