Eight separate investigations have been launched into the actions of Capitol officers, according to an aide to Congress, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the state of the internal review.
In one case, officials released statements that Capitol police investigators identified as support for Wednesday’s rally ahead of the attack on the complex, including citing President Trump’s baseless allegation that the election was stolen by voter fraud, I said.
Investigators at another court found that a Capitol official posted “inappropriate”
The Capitol police investigation comes amid growing allegations of why the complex was underdeveloped when thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Washington to protest Congress’ actions to certify Biden’s victory.
Former Capitol Police Chief Stephen Sund, who resigned after the attack, said in an interview with The Washington Post on Sunday that security officials rejected his efforts to put the DC National Guard on alert before the joint meeting.
MPs and parliament called for an investigation into security failures that day. One police officer was killed in the chaos and others were seriously injured. Four civilians were also killed, including one shot dead by police and three others in an emergency.
In a statement Monday night, Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pitman said “several” officers had been suspended.
“The department is also actively reviewing video and other open source material of some USCP employees who appear to be in violation of the department’s regulations and policies,” she said. “Our Professional Liability Office will investigate these disciplinary conduct, up to and including termination.”
On Monday, spokesman Tim Ryan (Ohio), whose committee oversees the Capitol police, told reporters in a video conference that one of those removed was captured on images of the riot, which went viral online. The photo appears to show a Capitol officer allowing or even posing in riot to take pictures with the officer.
A new photographer, who can be seen in the photo when the selfie was taken, told The Post that the image must have been taken in the first two hours after the crowd broke through the building.
A video from the moment shows that the photo was taken right at a checkpoint. An alarm, perhaps from a nearby magnetometer, erupts as men in the crowd appear to continue to enter the door without police checking for weapons. The photographer said he believed the image was taken on a door near the northwest corner of the Capitol.
The other officer who was removed was spotted in front of the complex with a red baseball cap Make America Great Again at a time when rebels were circling the Capitol, Ryan said.
A video taken during the chaos shows an officer wearing a MAGA hat leading a number of men in black helmets and bulletproof vests as they leave the Capitol in front of a crowd of applauding rebels. It is unclear whether other men behind him are officers or rioters.
Ryan said Pittman, who took command of the unit Friday after Sund’s resignation, decided the action “meets the conditions for an immediate halt.”
“The bottom line is that Capitol police are looking at anyone involved who could make it any easier on a large or small scale,” Ryan said.
A woman who answered a phone call for Capitol Police Union President Gus Papatanasiou hung up on Monday night when she was reached by a reporter. Papatanasiou did not immediately respond to a follow-up email asking for comment.
The suspension comes as various law enforcement agencies have launched an investigation into whether their own members took part in the Capitol riot or welcomed the attackers.
Secret services said Monday they were investigating an official who posted comments on Facebook accusing lawmakers of formalizing Biden’s victory as treason and echoing Trump’s conspiracy theories about election fraud.
According to images provided to The Post, the official posted on Facebook a meme of Trump shaking hands in the Oval Office, entitled “Here’s to a peaceful transition of power.” The day after the attack on the Capitol, a comment posted on the officer’s name ridiculed efforts to remove Trump from office and accused lawmakers who formally accepted the election vote of “committing live television betrayal.”
It read in part: “Good morning patriots! Yesterday it started beautifully and as usual Antifa lifted the mood and attacked the police and a veteran of the Air Force was killed …. Time is CRIMINAL at last !! “
Responding to a request for comment on the officer’s job, an agency spokesman said: “The US Secret Service is carrying out its law enforcement mission in an objective and apolitical manner. Any allegation that an employee is not performing his duties in this way will be investigated. As this is a matter of staff, the agency will not comment. “
In the United States, police officers and at least one police chief face termination, removal, or other discipline because of their proximity or alleged involvement in a chaotic gathering in Washington.
In Seattle, interim police chief Adrian Diaz confirmed that at least two officers had been placed on administrative leave and cited internal investigations after the agency received posts on social media showing officials in Washington. Residents of Troy, NH, also called for the resignation of Police Chief Dave Ellis after an interview he gave put him at a rally for Trump.
Police in Ann Arundel County, Michigan, said Monday they had stopped a paid employee as the agency worked with federal authorities to determine what involvement the officer had had.
A Capitol officer, Brian D. Siknik, died of his injuries while fighting the mob. An Capitol officer on duty during the riot died on Saturday.
Others have been traumatized by the riots. At least one employee handed in a service weapon and requested medical leave, according to a congressional aide familiar with the investigation.
A Capitol officer who was present during the attack said the department’s rank and file felt demoralized and betrayed by management.
Officers were not “prepared at all” to deal with the crowd that buried the Capitol and did not conduct special security briefings in advance, unlike other major events, said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.
When officers were hit in the face with bear spray, they did not have equipment or weapons for revenge, he added.
“In my time as an officer, we never failed as miserably as we did that day,” the officer said. “It simply came to our notice then. . . . We were put in a situation to fail. “
He added: “It’s like trying to climb Mount Everest and they give you slippers.”
The officer said Sund had “fallen on the sword” and that the two congressional sergeants were guilty, along with Trump. Both sergeants resigned last week.
“People openly said they would attack the Capitol, and.” [the officials] I act like it’s nothing, “said the policeman.
The officer also said he disagreed with the agency’s decision to suspend the officer who put the cap on, saying the rebels had put the officer’s hat on and he kept it to persuade several Trump supporters to help him retrieve officers. which were overloaded on the eastern front of the Capitol.
An online video of the attack shows a black officer wearing a MAGA hat asking several Trump supporters to help him reach officers swarmed by the crowd at the Capitol entrance. “They’re scared,” the officer said. Trump supporters help him navigate through a crowd of people to reach several other officers with riot gear, who then lead them out of the crowd.
The officer said he had spoken to the dismissed officer and believed he had taken the steps he had taken to “leave no one behind.”
“He uses those two white boys, in general, he uses those Trump supporters to help his people get out,” the officer said. “If it weren’t for them, these boys wouldn’t have escaped. . . . People can say whatever they want, but he put on this hat to try to save his boys. “
Carol D. Leonnig, Joyce Lee, Kim Bellware and Ovetta Wiggins contributed to this report.