Pennsylvania officer arrested, suspended from job over alleged involvement in Capitol riot

Minyvonne Burke
·3 min read

A Pennsylvania police officer was arrested and suspended from his job over his alleged involvement in last month's riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Joseph Fischer, a patrolman with the North Cornwall Township Police Department, was taken into custody Friday by the FBI on charges of obstruction of law enforcement, entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and obstruction of justice.

Fischer allegedly posted a video to Facebook showing him entering the Capitol on Jan. 6 with a mob of pro-Trump supporters. The riot occurred as Congress was preparing to count the electoral votes affirming Joe Biden's victory over then-President Donald Trump.

The FBI said that at one point in the video, Fischer is heard yelling "charge," according to a criminal complaint obtained by NBC News. Toward the end of the video, he allegedly starts charging at a line of police offices while appearing to shout "hold the line" and "motherf------." Authorities said he had a "physical encounter" with at least one officer.

During the scuffle, Fischer allegedly tried to help an officer who fell down, telling the officer, "I am a cop, I am a cop."

Following the attack, Fischer posted a comment on Facebook saying that entry into the Capitol was "needed to send a message that we the people hold the real power."

Authorities said he told someone in a Facebook message that he might need a new job because of his involvement at the Capitol.

"Word got out that I was at the rally...lol," he wrote, adding, "and the FBI may arrest me ... lol."

In the messages, he said his chief questioned him about the riot and he responded that he had no "regrets and gives zero sh---."

"Sometimes doing the right thing no matter how small is more important than ones own security," he wrote.

It's not clear if Fischer has obtained an attorney.

North Cornwall Township said the officer has been suspended without pay, according to NBC affiliate WGAL in Lancaster.

"No Township official had any knowledge of this individual’s actions prior to his arrest," the township said in a statement.

"The Township recognizes every citizen’s right to free speech; however, each citizen must also be accountable for his or her actions. Accordingly, as required by the Pennsylvania Confidence in Law Enforcement Act, the police officer was immediately suspended without pay pending the disposition of these charges," the statement continued.

"While every citizen accused of a crime must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, the Township, its elected officials, its police officers, and its employees wish to make clear that the United States of America is a government of laws which we are sworn to uphold. Neither the Township nor any officer or employee endorses, accepts, or condones any alleged participation in a crime against the United States of America nor any act committed by an individual who may have illegally breached the United States Capitol on January 06, 2021."

The riot resulted in five deaths, including a Capitol police officer. Trump was impeached on an article charging him with "incitement of insurrection," but he was acquitted by the Senate.

So far, more than 200 people have been federally charged in the riot.