It’s been three weeks since a federal police officer was killed trying to stop a mob of enraged Trump loyalists from storming the United States Capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election and we still do not know how he died or who was responsible for his death.
But we do know that a growing number of off-duty police officers from around the country participated in the January 6 riot that left an additional four people dead and 15 cops hospitalized as well as more than a hundred officers injured – a shocking assault on democracy described by the feds in charging documents as a “violent insurrection that attempted to overthrow the United States Government.”
We also know that Capitol police ignored intelligence reports stating that various right-wing organizations were planning on attacking Congress that day – staffing only 1,200 officers, the same as any other day – except 8,000 angry insurgents ended up storming the Capitol with some chanting “hang Mike Pence!”.
As of today, at least 39 cops from 17 states have been confirmed to have attended the “Stop the Steal” rally, according to The Appeal which created a spreadsheet of the cops which they have been updating. Most are being investigated by their own departments or the FBI to determine whether they breached the Capitol which would result in federal charges.
Also, 17 Capitol police officers who were supposed to defend the Capitol have been suspended and are under investigation by their own department for possible involvement in the insurgency that turned into an international embarrassment for the federal government after decades of security theater and policing elections in other countries.
Four off-duty law enforcement officers who breached the Capitol that day have been arrested so far; two from a small police department in Virginia, including one who bragged about urinating in Nancy Pelosi’s toilet during the insurgency, and another from the Houston Police Department who claimed to have entered the Capitol that day to look at art as well as a corrections officer from New Jersey.
Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson were off-duty from the Rocky Mount Police Department in Virginia when they photographed themselves standing in front of a statue of Revolutionary War hero John Stark inside the Capitol with Fracker making an obscene gesture with his middle finger. Fracker sent the photo to other officers in their department and from there it ended up on social media and in the news.
As the photo began going viral, Robertson claimed on social media that they broke no laws because they were “escorted in by the Capitol Police.”
But Fracker, 29, claimed in a Facebook message recovered by the FBI that they were part of a group of insurgents battling the Capitol cops that day who were keeping them from entering the building, comparing it to an experience he had when serving in the army in Afghanistan.
“Flash bangs going off, CS gas, rubber bullets flying by. Felt so good to be back in the shit hahaha I was like 8th person inside the building, shit was fuckin LIT, I haven’t been that hyped up since fuckin Nowzad hahaha.”
Fracker and Robertson, 47, have both been fired and are each facing one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Then there was Houston police officer Tam Dinh Pham, 48, who initially told federal agents he was at the rally but did not enter the Capitol. But the FBI found deleted photos of himself inside the Capitol on his phone from the day of the insurgency, showing him posing in front of a huge Trump flag. He then explained he only entered the Capitol to look at art but is facing the same charges as the former Virginia cops. He has resigned after an 18-year career.
Marissa Suarez, the corrections officer from New Jersey, has also resigned from the Monmouoth County Corrections Facility from where she took an emergency holiday to attend the insurgency. She is facing the same charges as the other cops.
While law enforcement officers have the First Amendment right to support the presidential candidate of their choice, they are expected to place country before party when their candidate loses instead of joining a violent mob to overturn the election.
Otherwise, they are displaying more loyalty to Trump than to the U.S. Constitution which invalidates the oath they swore to “defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Same as the Capitol cops who did not even bother trying to stop the mob, removing the barricades and waving them through, watching passively as they looted the Capitol which is why they are under investigation.
Some Capitol cops even posed for selfies with the insurgents as if they were part of an organized tour of the Capitol instead of an enraged mob attempting a coup. Trump loyalists, after all, pride themselves on backing the blue, waving thin blue line flags alongside their Gadsden flags in Trump rallies which earned them many allies with badges.
“We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target,” admitted interim Capitol Police Chief Yogananda D. Pittman in a memo after Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund resigned in disgrace along with House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger.
Sund said he requested the National Guard two days prior to the insurgency but was denied.
Those cops who did try to stop the insurgents were quickly overpowered by the frenzied mob who beat them with flagpoles, lead pipes and hockey sticks – evidently no longer backing the blue.
One video shows the crowd chanting “USA! USA!” while dragging a Metropolitan DC police officer down the stairs as he is beaten with an American flag. Another video shows a DC cop screaming in agony as he is pinned between two doors and the rioters pull his gas mask from his face. Other videos show rioters throwing fire extinguishers and furniture at the cops while taunting and threatening them.
The FBI so far has charged at least 164 people for participating in the riot as it gathers and examines hundreds of videos including several who have been charged with assaulting a police officer after their actions were caught on video.
But no video has surfaced yet of the incident that led to the death of Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick who police say collapsed in his office the evening of the insurgency after he was struck on the head with a fire extinguisher “while physically engaging with protesters,” dying at a local hospital the following day. And no suspect had been identified.
Meanwhile, some commenters on pro-cop Facebook pages like Blue Lives Matter and Police One – who never fail to take the “law and order” stance – are referring to the cops who have been arrested as “patriots” and the cops who tried to stop them as “traitors.”
Some are uncharacteristically questioning the police narrative behind the death of Sicknick, claiming Trump supporters would never harm police.
They point to a report from Sicknick’s family that he died from a stroke, which they argue, proves he did not die from a head injury caused by a insurgent who attacked him with a fire extinguisher but from a pre-existing condition. However, it is common knowledge that brain injuries increase the risk of strokes.
And some commenters even accuse Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman, the Black officer who is being hailed as a hero for leading a group of mostly White insurgents up two flights of stairs, away from Senate chambers, of being an “actor,” paid by Democrats to make Trump look bad.
They are also critical of Metropolitan DC police officer Michael Fanone who told CNN the insurgents surrounded him and took his taser and tried to take his gun and all he could do was plead for his life because he did not have enough bullets to stop them all.
They wonder if he is even a real cop with all those neck tattoos, oblivious to the fact that fully tatted cops are almost the norm in big cities these days. For all they know, he could be another actor trying to topple Trump from his rightful throne.
Anything is possible in the alternative reality universe created by Trump whose outright lies were described as “alternative facts” by his campaign manager and whose repeated claims of election fraud became truth in the minds of many of his supporters but were nothing but deflections and denials from a defeated narcissist.
Numerous recounts since the election had failed to prove fraud and dozens of lawsuits alleging fraud had been dismissed by judges for lacking merit, including several judges appointed by the president himself.
And that is where it should have ended if we’re going to respect the Constitution and its system of checks and balances but Trump then tried to overturn the election by strong-arming other government officials into helping him, including placing an intimidating phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, telling him that, “I just want to find 11,780 votes” to allow him to win the state’s 16 electoral votes.
Trump then tried to get then-Vice President Mike Pence to not certify the vote but he refused which is why the insurgents wanted to hang him. They even brought a makeshift gallows with noose and placed it outside the Capitol that day.
“You can either go down in history as a patriot or you can go down in history as a pussy,” Trump allegedly told Pence, according to the New York Times.
Meanwhile, Trump was telling his followers that the election was being stolen from him which is why so many believed they were actually protecting the U.S. Constitution by storming the Capitol.
What’s even more troubling is that many of his believers are police officers willing to take up arms against the federal government without actually examining and analyzing the available evidence.
“Civility has left me,” explained former Rocky Mount police officer Thomas Robertson on December 19, 2020 in a Facebook post before he was fired and charged for participating in the riot, according to an FBI search warrant which you can read here.
*“Im tired of always taking the high road and being beat by those who cheat, lie, and steal to win and then allow their media to paint me as the bad guy. I won’t be disenfranchised. I’ll follow the path our founders gave us. Redress of grievances (already done) civil disobedience (here now) and then open armed rebellion. I’ve spent the last 10 years fighting an insurgency in Iraq and then Afghanistan. Im prepared to start one here and know a bunch of like minded and trained individuals.”*
After numerous failed attempts to overturn the election, it had come down to January 6 which was touted as “Trump’s last stand” on social media, a day where various right-wing groups, including the Proud Boys, were openly planning on targeting Congress to intimidate them into reversing the election results.
Anybody paying attention could have predicted the outcome but somehow a federal law enforcement agency with a budget of $500 million did not see the need to staff additional officers to ensure nothing disrupts the certifying of the election results.
Some of the off-duty cops storming the Capitol flashed their badges to Capitol police officers who waved them through along with hundreds of other angry insurgents looking to lynch the vice president who was in the Senate chambers about to certify the election results.
Besides Sicknick, four others died that day, including an unarmed woman named Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who was shot and killed by a Capitol police officer while trying to crawl through a broken window pane to access Senate chambers. Capitol police have not released the name of the cop who shot her.
The three others who died were Trump loyalists who suffered medical emergencies while storming the Capitol. They have been identified as Benjamin Philips, 50, Kevin Greeson, 55, and Rosanne Boyland, 34.
The suicides of two officers who worked that day have been attributed to the insurgency as well, including Capitol police officer Howard Liebengood and Metropolitan DC police officer Jeffrey Smith.
Capitol Police Labor Committee Gus Papathanasiou told NPR the following:
“Another officer has tragically taken his own life. Between USCP and our colleagues at the Metropolitan Police Department, we have almost 140 officers injured. I have officers who were not issued helmets prior to the attack who have sustained brain injuries. One officer has two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal discs. One officer is going to lose his eye, and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake.”
But despite the violence against cops, Trump’s support among police officers remains strong. Trump, after all, was a cop’s dream come true, a “law and order” president who not only backed the blue but encouraged them to get violent with suspects as was done in the “good old days.”
He also shared with cops a contempt for the Black Lives Matter movement, referring to it as a domestic terror group, even signing an executive order targeting leftist protesters after last summer’s riots against police abuse, promising ten-year prison sentences for anybody arrested vandalizing or destroying federal statues and buildings.
But now it is is the Trump loyalists being labeled domestic terrorists with several facing decades in prison for breaching the Capitol and terrorizing elected officials in the name of Trump.
They had been counting on Trump pardoning them but he left office without acknowledging their arrests, issuing more than 100 last-minute pardons to a wide range of individuals who had nothing to do with the insurgency including rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black.
Some of his most advent supporters, the right-wing street fighting Proud Boys, have disavowed their allegiance to Trump, calling him a traitor for selling them out as at least seven members face federal charges for their roles in the insurgency.
The insurgency may have failed but the threat of domestic terrorism from Trump-supporting extremists who have been “fueled by false narratives” is still strong, according to a bulletin issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security.
However, the bulletin makes no mention that some of these anti-government extremists are government-funded police officers who have been terrorizing citizens for years. The same cops who have long been protected by agencies like Homeland Security.
Newly elected president Joe Biden has vowed to reform the criminal justice system by eliminating the systemic racism within it but one man alone is not going to change the system when it is crooked at so many levels and when there is so much spin and misinformation accepted as truth.
That job falls on us where we take control of the government, not through violence and intimidation but through knowledge and education, using the available tools like public records laws to keep government transparent. They can’t jail us for that. At least not lawfully.
That is why we have turned PINAC News into a nonprofit and why we are seeking funding to create a national database of bad cops which will only succeed if the readers get involved.
At the moment, we are in the very early stages trying to raise the seed money and establish the necessary partnerships to make this happen. We have spent the last few weeks writing several grants which are due next month and plan to apply for more but it can take months before we are funded.
As a nonprofit, we are able to accept tax-deductible donations but we are required by law to account for every dollar we receive so we plan to operate with the same transparency we expect from our government by posting our tax returns on the site. This is not a partisan issue but a Constitutional issue.