Several police departments across the country have opened investigations into cops among their ranks to find out if they were involved in the siege on the U.S. Capitol on Washington, D.C. on January 6th.
The growing number of probes follows an announcement from the Seattle Police Department on Friday that two of its officers have been put on administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations that they were in the nation’s capital during the raucous events.
The New York Times reports that cops from Texas, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire are now under similar scrutiny after social media posts placed them near the riots that took place in the nation’s Capitol.
Some of the potentially incriminating posts were made by the MAGA-supporting officers themselves.
From the NY Times:
In San Antonio, Sheriff Javier Salazar of Bexar County said he had referred Lt. Roxanne Mathai to the internal investigations department after she posted a video of herself on Facebook from near the Capitol, wearing a red, white and blue face mask and wrapped in an American flag. The officer waxed enthusiastic about the day but stated explicitly that she would not enter the Capitol.
Plumes of tear gas waft in the background of the video, and Mr. Salazar said investigators would determine whether police had declared the gathering an unlawful assembly. “If that is the case and she remained on scene and began filming and began making challenging statements, that means breaking the law,” the sheriff said.
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The video of Mathai has been forwarded to the FBI.
Meanwhile, the Zelienople Police Department in Pennsylvania is reviewing whether one of its officers, Timothy Goldie, may have broken the law by taking part in the insurrection after he was captured in pictures at the D.C. unrest.
“Him being there is not a problem — he had a right to be there, but not to break into the Capitol, obviously,” the head of that police department, Jim Miller, told the Times.
David Ellis, chief of the Troy Police Department in New Hampshire, has also been identified as a protestor in D.C. on January 6th. Troy residents have called for his resignation.
And the names of multiple members of the New York Fire Department have been turned over to the FBI based on reports that they were photographed at the riots, according to NBC New York.
The future of most of the investigations depends on whether the officials accused specifically participated in breaching the Capitol building—which is outright criminal activity that led to the death of five people, including one police officer. U.S. Capitol police said over 50 law enforcement officers who responded to the violence were injured by the mass of white supremacist rioters.
Two Black officers who were working at the Capitol during the attack told Buzzfeed News that some of the insurgents they came face to face with were in fact off-duty cops:
“[One guy] pulled out his badge and he said, ‘we’re doing this for you.’ Another guy had his badge. So I was like, ‘well, you gotta be kidding.’”
Another officer, a newer recruit, echoed these sentiments, saying that where he was on the steps to the rotunda on the east side of the Capitol, he was engaged in hand-to-hand battles trying to fight the attackers off. But he said they were outnumbered 10 to one, and described extraordinary scenes in which protesters holding Blue Lives Matter flags launched themselves at police officers.
“We were telling them to back up and get away and stop, and they’re telling us, they are on our side, and they’re doing this for us, and they’re saying this as I’m getting punched in my face by one of them … That happened to a lot of us. We were getting pepper sprayed in the face by those protesters, I’m not going to even call them protestors, by those domestic terrorists,” said the officer.
One thing is clear so far: there was a whole gang of people who earn tax-payer dollars among the horde of Trump supporters who travelled to D.C. to claim this country as theirs alone and violently attack democracy.
Sounds just like America.