Two US Capitol police officers have been suspended for their conduct during the mob assault of the Capitol in Washington last week, a US lawmaker said Monday.
At least 10 other Capitol police officers are under investigation following the riot, and federal agents will investigate whether other law enforcement personnel were involved in the attack, CNN reported.
One of the suspended officers allegedly took a selfie with a rioter. A video said to be of the incident sparked widespread condemnation of the force online.
The other suspended officer allegedly donned a “Make America Great Again” hat and directed the pro-Trump mob around the Capitol building, said US House Representative Tim Ryan, a Democrat from Ohio.
Ryan said 10 to 15 officers were being investigated for their conduct during the riot.
It’s a dark day in America when a UNITED STATES Capitol police officer decides to take a selfie with a TERRORIST! And they wonder why WE don’t feel safe! pic.twitter.com/UZsLnS2s68
— NAACP (@NAACP) January 6, 2021
Officers have been criticized for their actions after snippets of videos taken by the rioters showed some posing for selfies and acquiescing to demands by screaming rioters to move aside so they could stream inside the building.
But other videos showed officers trying in vain to keep the crowd from breaking into the building. One disturbing video showed a bloodied Metropolitan police officer screaming for help as he was crushed in a door by protesters inside the Capitol building.
One officer died in the riot and at least a dozen were injured.
So far, at least 90 people have been arrested on charges ranging from misdemeanor curfew violations to felonies related to assaults on police officers, possessing illegal weapons and making death threats against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
In addition to the Capitol police, suspects include off-duty police, members of the military, conspiracy theorists, far-right militants, Republican party officials and white supremacists.
Army commanders at Fort Bragg in North Carolina are investigating Capt. Emily Rainey’s involvement in the riot. The 30-year-old psychological operations officer told the AP she led 100 members of Moore County Citizens for Freedom who traveled to Washington to “stand against election fraud” and support Trump. She insisted she acted within Army regulations and that no one in her group entered the Capitol or broke the law.
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock Jr. of Texas was charged in federal court on Sunday after he was identified in photos showing him standing in the well of the Senate, wearing a military-style helmet and body armor while holding a pair of zip-tie handcuffs.
The Philadelphia Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau has opened an investigation into whether one of its detectives participated in the riot.
Sgt. Eric Gripp, a department spokesman, said officials had been made aware of social media posts alleging the detective had attended the Trump rally, and the investigation would look into whether any departmental policies were violated or if the detective engaged in illegal activities.
The investigations continue as authorities brace for more violence ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s January 20 inauguration.
The Pentagon said Monday it has authorized National Guard troops to be deployed for the inauguration. Already 6,200 troops are on the ground in Washington, and a total of 10,000 are planned by the coming weekend, said General Daniel Hokanson, chief of the Defense Department’s National Guard Bureau.
Another 5,000 could be deployed by the day of the inauguration, he said.
They will come equipped with riot gear and weapons, but so far they have not been authorized to arm themselves while on the streets of the US capital, he said.
For the moment their mission is to support local police in communications, logistics, and security, he said.
Authorizing the National Guard to deploy in a law enforcement role, armed and empowered to make arrests, would be a “last resort” if the security situation got out of hand, Hokanson said.