Action News has learned that one detective reportedly attended the rally in support of President Donald Trump that preceded the insurrection Wednesday.
A mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, vandalizing and assaulting officers. Five people died including a Capitol police officer. Benjamin Phillips of Ringtown, Pennsylvania also died after suffering an apparent medical emergency.
Philadelphia police released a statement on the investigation saying, “We are aware of social media posts that allege that a Philadelphia Police Department detective may have been in attendance at the events on Washington, DC on January 6th. An IAB investigation has been opened to determine if any PPD policies were violated by the detective, and if they participated in any illegal activities while in attendance. The Detective’s assignment has been changed pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Sources tell Action News that the detective works in the recruitment division and their job is to screen new recruits to make sure they are fit to serve. Part of the detective’s job involves screening the social media accounts of those recruits.
Authorities are working to determine if any other police department personnel was in attendance during the rally. The name of the detective under investigation is not being released.
Across the country, police and fire departments are opening probes into officers who attended the rally. In Seattle, Western Pennsylvania and Texas, officers are under investigation to determine if they took part in the violence.
Dozens of people have been arrested in connection with the protest and riot, including 12 people from Pennsylvania and one South Jersey man.
Despite ample warnings about pro-Trump demonstrations in Washington, U.S. Capitol Police did not bolster staffing on Wednesday and made no preparations for the possibility that the planned protests could escalate into massive violent riots, according to several people briefed on law enforcement’s response, the Associated Press reports.
The revelations shed new light on why Capitol police were so quickly overrun by rioters. The department had the same number of officers in place as on a routine day. While some of those officers were outfitted with equipment for a protest, they were not staffed or equipped for a riot.
Once the mob began to move on the Capitol, a police lieutenant issued an order not to use deadly force, which explains why officers outside the building did not draw their weapons as the crowd closed in. Officers are sometimes ordered against escalating a situation by drawing their weapons if superiors believe doing so could lead to a stampede or a shootout.
In this instance, it also left officers with little ability to resist the mob. In one video from the scene, an officer puts up his fists to try to push back a crowd pinning him and his colleagues against a door. The crowd jeers “You are not American!” and one man tries to prod him with the tip of an American flag.
The rioters stormed the Capitol while lawmakers were meeting to certify Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. Rioters were able to breach the Senate floor and others were able to gain access to offices.
Richard Barnett, the man who allegedly broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, posed for pictures and stole mail from her desk, was arrested Friday morning in Little Rock, Arkansas, and has been charged with three federal counts.
Barnett allegedly entered the restricted office area and took photographs with his feet propped up on furniture, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
Two Republican senators now say Trump should resign as support for the drive to impeach him a second time is gaining momentum in his final days in office after the deadly riot.
Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania on Sunday joined Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski in calling for Trump to “resign and go away as soon as possible.”
Toomey said that even though he believes Trump committed impeachable offenses in encouraging loyalists in the Capitol siege on Wednesday, he did not think there was enough time for the impeachment process to play out.
Toomey said that resignation was the “best path forward, the best way to get this person in the rear view mirror for us.”
The White House had no immediate comment Sunday.
The House appears determined to act despite the short timeline.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday the House will proceed with legislation to impeach President Donald Trump, calling him a threat to democracy after the deadly assault on the Capitol.
Pelosi made the announcement in a letter to colleagues. She said the House will act with solemnity but also urgency with just days remaining before Trump is to leave office on Jan. 20.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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