Capitol Police officers disciplined for taking photos with rioters, internal docs reveal

·3 min read

There were 38 internal probes by the Office of Professional Responsibility, and six officers faced disciplinary action.

New reports are surfacing that six Capitol Police officers are being disciplined for their actions at the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C.

One officer told the FBI he posed for a photo with a person participating in the riots that day — after a “Stop the Steal” rally prompted by former President Donald Trump and his supporters — in order to identify him later. But according to a report from McClatchy, he never shared that tidbit of information with his superior officer or anyone else until he was questioned by the FBI.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger speaks to reporters Monday after a classified briefing with congressional leaders on the security preparations for this weekend’s “Justice for J6” rally on Capitol Hill. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger speaks to reporters Monday after a classified briefing with congressional leaders on the security preparations for this weekend’s “Justice for J6” rally on Capitol Hill. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“The arrest warrants are public so I just wanted to give you a heads-up that this is happening so you all aren’t blindsided by it,” the FBI investigator told Capitol Police in an email, according to the report.

The unnamed officer responded that the man seemed like an “alpha male,” maintaining he took the photo to identify him. But he didn’t get any of his information or take the photo with his own phone.

He was disciplined for “conduct unbecoming” of a Capitol Police officer.

He certainly wasn’t the lone Capitol Police officer who took photos with rioters on Jan. 6. The report notes the department received “numerous complaints, via telephone and at least 170 emails received in one day, regarding photographs that appeared in news stories and on a live Twitter video of a USCP officer posing with rioters after the Capitol Building was breached,” according to investigation documents.

Five people were killed on that fateful day as thousands of the twice-impeached ex-president’s supporters rushed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

In this Jan. 6, 2021 file photo, Trump supporters gather outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Six Capitol Police officers are being disciplined for their actions that day, including posing for photos with participating rioters. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
In this Jan. 6, 2021 file photo, Trump supporters gather outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Six Capitol Police officers are being disciplined for their actions that day, including posing for photos with participating rioters. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

The officer is one of six facing disciplinary action after an internal investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility. The report notes there were 38 internal investigations, but many cases were dismissed and involved officers that could not be positively identified.

Another unnamed officer who was disciplined for taking photos that day said he was traumatized. “I had people coming up to me and videoing me all day long. Pictures and videos of officers all day long. So, I mean, there was a lot going on that day,” the officer said, according to the documents. “This is after being CS sprayed, OC sprayed, fighting with protesters all day … Plus that, that’s a traumatic life event.”

The documents were released to the Department of Justice and obtained by news outlets.

In a response statement, Capitol Police said, “The Department is committed to accountability when officers fail to meet the standards governed by USCP policies and the Congressional Community’s expectations. The six sustained cases should not diminish the heroic efforts of the United States Capitol Police officers.”

This report comes out just as Capitol Police are preparing for a “Justice for J6” rally scheduled to take place this Saturday in the nation’s capitol in support of the more than 600 people who have been charged in the historic insurrection event. U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger says a fence is being erected for safety.

“The fence will go up a day or two before,” he said, “and if everything goes well, it’ll go down, come down very soon.”

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