Six officers may face discipline following six January insurrection

Six complaints were made against US Capitol Police officers following the 6 January insurrection

Amy B. Wang,Martin Weil
Monday 13 September 2021 17:57
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Disciplinary actions have been recommended against US Capitol Police officers identified in six complaints made after the 6 January insurrection, the US Capitol Police said on Saturday evening.

“Violations were sustained and disciplinary action was recommended” in connection with three complaints of “conduct unbecoming,” the Capitol Police said in a statement.

The agency said the other three complaints involved failing to comply with directives, improper remarks and improper dissemination of information.

No details were given about the incidents that prompted the complaints. The officers were not named, and the discipline recommended was not specified. The Capitol Police did not immediately respond to questions Sunday.

“The six sustained cases should not diminish the heroic efforts of the United States Capitol Police officers,” the agency said Saturday. “On January 6, the bravery and courage exhibited by the vast majority of our employees was inspiring.”

Lawmakers and the public have largely celebrated the actions of police who responded on 6 January, when supporters of President Donald Trump made their way inside the Capitol to try to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.

The attack resulted in five deaths, including of a police officer. Four other officers on duty that day have since died by suicide, and more than 100 officers were injured after being harassed, beaten and sprayed with chemical substances by the mob.

Months after the insurrection, several officers who responded that day said they continued to suffer physical and psychological trauma from the attack. Last month, the Capitol Police concluded its internal investigation into Lt. Michael Byrd, the officer who fatally shot rioter Ashli Babbitt, and found no wrongdoing, saying his use of force was within the department’s guidelines.

Still, photos and videos of some troubling police interactions during the 6 January siege spread online, prompting concern. In one image, an officer was captured apparently posing for a selfie with a rioter. Two rioters later claimed that one officer shook their hands and told them, “It’s your house now,” according to the FBI.

“There were clearly enormous strategic and planning failures by the Capitol Police, by the sergeant-at-arms and anyone else who was a part of coordinating this effort,” Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, chairman of the committee that controls the Capitol Police budget, said in a virtual news conference on the evening of 6 January. “There was a strategic breakdown, for sure, and you can bet your a-- we are going to get to the bottom of it.”

In July, the agency named a new police chief, J. Thomas Manger, who was selected by three members of the Capitol Police Board and top congressional leaders. Manger has expressed confidence in the department and promised to scrutinise dozens of recommendations stemming from 6 January to continue protecting lawmakers and the Capitol.

In the days following the insurrection, Capitol Police suspended several officers and launched investigations into more than a dozen others over suspected involvement with or inappropriate support for the insurrection.

In March, another Capitol Police officer was suspended after antisemitic reading material was found near a security checkpoint.

On Saturday, the agency said its office of professional responsibility initiated 38 internal investigations related to the 6 Januray attack and that the US attorney’s office did not find sufficient evidence of any crime being committed by any officers involved in the internal investigations.

The office was able to identify the officers involved in 26 of the 38 cases, the Capitol Police said, while other complaints did not contain enough identifying information. In 20 of the cases, no wrongdoing was found, the agency said.

Another case, in which an officer is accused of “unsatisfactory performance and conduct unbecoming,” remains pending.

Washington Post

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