Two Virginia Police Officers Arrested For Invading The Capitol

Topline

Two off-duty Rocky Mount, Virginia police officers, one of whom is an Army veteran and trained sniper, have been charged in federal court in connection to the infiltration and occupation of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced Wednesday, adding to the growing list of law enforcement officers accused of taking part in the chaos at the Capitol.

Key Facts

According to the criminal complaint, officers Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson, who were off-duty when they traveled to D.C, were photographed in the Capitol building making an obscene gesture in front of the John Stark statue.

They have both been charged with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

On Facebook, Fracker allegedly posted a comment (which has since been deleted) that read, “Lol to anyone who’s possibly concerned about the picture of me going around… Sorry I hate freedom? …Not like I did anything illegal… y’all do what you feel you need to.”

The complaint states that Robertson posted on social media that he was “proud” of the photo of the two officers inside the Capitol because he was “willing to put his skin in the game.”

Robertson admitted to Richmond Times-Dispatch that he and Fracker sent the photo to police department colleagues, arguing that they broke no laws and stayed in cordoned areas, saying: “We were escorted in by the Capitol Police, shown around and told, ‘As long as you stay here, you’re fine.'”

According to a local news outlet, Robertson is an Army veteran who received Ranger and sniper training and previously worked as a private military contractor for the Department of Defense.

Crucial Quote: 

“CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business,” Robertson wrote, according to the charging document. “The right IN ONE DAY took the f—–g U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.” 

Key Background:

Both officers have been put on administrative leave. In their statement, the Rocky Mount Police Department said the town “fully supports all lawful expressions of freedom of speech and assembly by its employees but does not condone the unlawful acts that occurred that day.” Fracker and Robertson are the latest in a rising number of police officers and other public servants from across the United States found to have taken part in the protests and riots in and around the Capitol last Wednesday. According to an analysis of public statements, news reports and video footage by Reuters, at least 50 elected officials and others in public sector jobs are “facing internal inquiries or investigations that, in some cases, have resulted in temporary suspensions pending investigations.” Firefighters, state lawmakers, teachers, municipal workers and at least one active-duty military officer took part in protests that day, Reuters reported. If public servants are “involved in an activity like this, you can’t be surprised if many [people] just don’t trust them anymore,” said Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Princeton University. “It undermines that you can count on them with total confidence to serve the public.”

Further Reading:

Two Off-Duty Virginia Police Officers Charged in Federal Court Following Events at the U.S. Capitol (Justice.Gov) 

Seattle Police Officers Under Investigation For Involvement In Attacks On U.S. Capitol (Forbes) 

Off-duty cops, other officials face reckoning after rallying for Trump in D.C (Reuters)

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tommybeer/2021/01/14/two-virginia-police-officers-arrested-for-invading-the-capitol/