The fallout from the assault on the U.S. Capitol continues with nearly 400 American citizens now identified as participants in the riots and over 150 facing federal charges — many being significant felony violations including the assault of an officer or sedition.
But what may be more alarming remain the growing number of law enforcement officials who have either been suspended or face investigation for their participation in, support of or behavior during the Jan. 6 riots.
Federal agents say they continue to determine if both current and former law enforcement officers played a role in the riot. At least two U.S. Capitol police officers have been suspended with nearly a dozen others being scrutinized for what roles they may have willingly played.
One U.S. Capitol police officers has been reported as taking a selfie with a member of the mob while one of the officer’s colleagues was photographed sporting a “Make America Great Again” while directing traffic. And while the actual number of officers under investigation has been reported from various sources from as few as eight and as many as 17, U.S. Capitol Police acting Chief Yogananda Pittman recently stated that “several officers” had been “suspended.”
She said in a statement that the department “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.”
“Our Office of Professional Responsibility will investigate these behaviors for disciplinary action, up to, and including, termination. Several USCP officers have already been suspended pending the outcome of their investigations,” the statement continued.
Officers from other parts of the U.S., including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, Texas and Virginia similarly remain under investigation by their respective departments for possibly violating rules. Other departments have joined the FBI as the federal law enforcement agency conducts its own criminal investigations with many predicting that with social media and the shifting public sentiment, more lawbreakers will be identified.
One on-duty officer was killed in the Jan. 6 insurrection with dozens of others injured and one U.S. Capitol Police officer committing suicide. Specifically, the siege resulted in the death of five people, including Brian Sicknick, a U.S. Capitol Police officer, who “was injured while physically engaging with protesters.”
Officials say nearly 50 police officers were injured in clashes with the pro-Trump mob.
Now, the District’s Attorney General, Karl Racine, who also serves as the president of the National Association of Attorneys General, must work with federal law officials to determine who should be charged, what those charges will be and whether their cases will be tried in federal courts or in the District.
Racine spoke with SiriusXM Urban View Host Joe Madison on Jan. 19 during which he addressed questions of whether former President Trump should be held accountable for the Capitol insurrection because it appears to have been pre-planned.
‘[The] argument has some merit if it is indeed the case that a group was hell-bent on doing what it did, such that an individual’s words may not have mattered. But it’s way too early to tell whether that’s the case. And of course, even if the . . . argument is right, it may not be right as to every single person who stormed the Capitol. And there is no doubt that the individuals who went to the Capitol, went as they had told agents and people from my office, at the President’s request,” Racine said.
Racine also pointed to the role that social media platforms may have played.
“The social media companies, and I’m talking Twitter, Facebook, Google — they’ve got a lot of answering to do as well,” he said. “We know that since the takedown of [President Trump] from the social media airwaves, that disinformation, misinformation, lies about the election, decreased 71 percent.”
“Why did it take so long for those mega platforms to take lies down? You know why? Because they profited from that. Okay? And public profit from lies I think is something that we all need to take a look at and we need to urge these companies to be held accountable,” Racine added.
Racine, in an interview on Jan. 7 with The Washington Informer, said he and his office continue to work with law enforcement officials both locally and across the U.S. to identify rioters. In addition, he said that his office received calls and other forms of intelligence, both before the insurrection and since — some pointing to potential danger that would occur on Jan. 6.
Other calls continue to come from those admitting their participation and seeking to turn themselves or with information about unidentified rioters still being sought by officials who remain at large.
“We are going to enforce the law,” Racine said. “And while some have asked why rioters were not arrested on the spot, that’s something best answered by the U.S. Capitol Police. But it’s clear that the dissemination of outrageous comments led, at least in part, to the crowd getting hyped up.”
“We will continue to work fully and zealously and let the facts go where they go. And we’re heartened that our office and the U.S. Attorney General’s office have put our heads together and agreed that the best way to uncover the facts and bring those who broke the law to justice is to work together,” he said.