Six officers have been suspended and 29 others are currently under investigation for their conduct during the violent insurrection in Washington DC on January 6, officials have announced.
The suspensions and investigations come as part of an internal probe at the Capitol Police department, under the direction of Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman.
‘Our Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the actions of 35 police officers from that day. We currently have suspended six of those officers with pay,’ department spokesperson John Stolnis told Fox 5.
‘Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman has directed that any member of her department whose behavior is not in keeping with the Department’s Rules of Conduct will face appropriate discipline.’
Among those suspended is a cop who was filmed posing for selfies with rioters inside the legislature, Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat from Ohio, previously confirmed.
Lt. Tarik Khalid Johnson, 45, who was seen wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat as he started directing rioters around the building, has also been suspended.
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Among those suspended in a cop who was videoed posing for selfies (above) with rioters inside the legislature, Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat from Ohio, previously confirmed
Lt. Tarik Khalid Johnson, 45, who was seen wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat as he started directing rioters around the building, has also been suspended
News of the internal investigation’s progress comes more than a month after thousands of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol in a bid to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election.
Five people died, including one Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, who was bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher.
In total, 139 cops were assaulted in the frenzy and two officers who were on duty at the time have since committed suicide.
In the riot’s wake, video footage emerge in abundance on social media that raised questions about the actions of numerous officers.
In some instances, police were seen standing motionless in a door way as rioters streamed past them into the Capitol. In other instances, officers were even seen opening up barricades and physically waiving the mob through.
Further, at least two rioters have since told the FBI a Capitol Police officer told them ‘It’s your house now’, as the insurrection unfolded.
In the case of Lt. Johnson, he was filmed handing the rioters a megaphone and telling them, ‘I’ll follow you’, while wearing a red MAGA cap.
He then proceeded to follow the group in a procession around the building.
Despite his suspension, Johnson has claimed he chose to wear the hat to get the attention of the rioters, and distract the crowd surging toward an open door of the building.
As the officer waded into the frenzied group, he became surrounded giving other police officers the chance to shut the doors behind him, reporter Chris Jones who recorded the incident, told Military.com.
In the case of Lt. Johnson, he was filmed handing the rioters a megaphone and telling them, ‘I’ll follow you’
Despite his suspension, Johnson has claimed he chose to wear the hat o get the attention of the rioters, and distract the crowd surging toward an open door of the building
In the weeks since January 6, the Capitol Police Department has come under fierce criticism for failing to adequately prepare for the riots. The FBI has also been widely panned for failing to take preemptive action to identify and thwart threats ahead of the unrest – despite plenty of warning signs.
Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda D Pittman (pictured) was subject to a no confidence vote
Last month, Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said 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.’
But the suspensions and investigations come at a time of turmoil within the department.
Just last week, the Capitol Police union delivered an overwhelming vote of no confidence in their leaders, in light of January 6.
Pittman, the first woman and the first African American to preside over the force, was roundly condemned for her leadership.
She took over two days after the riots, on January 8, when her predecessor Steven Sund was forced to resign.
Nevertheless, 92 percent of union members voted that they did not have any confidence in her.
Her deputy, Chad Thomas, who joined the force in 1996, fared even worse, with a 96 percent no confidence rating.
Worst rated was Captain Ben Smith, who 97 percent said they felt failed by.
About 650 officers — out of about 1,500 who could have — took part in the vote.
In a statement released on Saturday, Pittman said ‘the trauma is still incredibly raw and difficult for the many officers who fought heroically on the 6th.’
She added: ‘Since being sworn in on January 8th, my executive team and I have made the well-being of our officers our top priority.
‘While progress has been made, more work remains. And I am committed to ensuring every officer gets what they need and deserve.’
In total, 139 cops were assaulted in the frenzy and two officers who were on duty at the time have since committed suicide
The Capitol Police Department has come under fierce criticism for failing to adequately prepare for the riots last month
At least 31 officers in law enforcement agencies across 12 states are also currently being investigated over their suspected role in the riots, having traveled to DC while off-duty.
Most of the officers have not been publicly identified; only a few have been charged. Some were identified by online sleuths. Others were reported by their colleagues or turned themselves in.
Among them are one officer in New York, one in Philadelphia, two in Seattle, two in Virginia and one in Texas.
Five people died, including one Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick (above), who was bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher
An Oklahoma sheriff and a New Hampshire police chief who have acknowledged being at the rally, but denied entering the Capitol or breaking the law, are also being proved.
Sgt. Thomas Robertson and Officer Jacob Fracker, of Rocky Mount, Virginia, face criminal charges after posting a photo of themselves inside the Capitol during the riot.
According to court records, Robertson wrote on social media that the ‘Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem … The right IN ONE DAY took the f***ing US Capitol. Keep poking us.’
Federal law enforcement officials have also arrested and charged more than 250 suspected rioters, with investigators still hunting down hundreds more.
Former President Donald Trump was impeached for a second time after the attack and was accused of inciting the violence that occurred at the Capitol that day. He was acquitted of inciting insurrection by the Senate last week.