The Slatest

Police Officers Suspected of Assisting Capitol Riot Suspended; Other Sympathizers Under Investigation

A rioter who claimed to be a member of the Proud Boys, confronts police officers outside the Capitol.
A rioter who claimed to be a member of the Proud Boys confronts police officers outside the Capitol on Wednesday. Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Several officers stationed at the Capitol during last week’s siege have been suspended, and more than a dozen more Capitol Police officers are currently under investigation, for actions that range from inappropriate support for the rioters to suspected involvement with the insurrection. The anemic, borderline permissive security response to the incursion has come under heavy criticism in the days after the event. The front-line Capitol Police were undermanned and the federal response to bolster security to defend the national legislature took hours and appears to have been intentionally slowed by the Trump administration, including by President Donald Trump himself. There were also troubling signs of police officers exhibiting support for the insurrection on the ground that day, as well as support online for some of Trump’s most pernicious election lies that prompted the attempted takeover.

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One officer was suspended for taking a selfie with pro-Trump rioter; a video of the moment ricocheted around the internet in real time Wednesday, giving the impression that the sympathies of some portion of the police lay with the mob that lead to five deaths, including two officers. Another officer was suspended for wearing a red Make America Great Again baseball cap as the crowd was closing in on the Capitol. “One video taken during the mayhem appears to show an officer wearing a MAGA cap leading a line of men in black helmets and body armor as they leave the Capitol to a crowd of applauding rioters,” the Washington Post reports. “It is unclear whether other men behind him are officers or rioters.” Supporters of the officer say that he was using the hat as a prop to subdue the mob and get at-risk officers to safety.

Other investigations revolve around officers’ supportive online posts about the rally outside the White House that preceded the riot, as well as support for Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. “The Department also 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,” acting Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman said. “Our Office of Professional Responsibility will investigate these behaviors for disciplinary action, up to, and including, termination.”

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