Reports surfaced during the weekend that at least six Capitol Police officers were recommended for “disciplinary action” for various conduct violations during the Jan. 6 insurrection. This was after the United States Capitol Police (USCP) launched 38 internal investigations into the events of that day. According to the USCP’s report, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not find sufficient evidence that any of the officers committed a crime.”
On Tuesday, the Miami Herald reported that the details of this investigation, as analyzed from redacted documents obtained by McClatchy, leave many unanswered questions concerning some of these officers’ actions and statements about that day. As many people remember, there were quite a few images of Capitol police taking photos with insurrectionists as they trespassed, brutalized, and vandalized our nation’s Capitol building. The documents obtained shed light on the excuses given by some of the officers for their actions.
One officer told investigators that he was just trying to keep everybody mellow. “I can’t help what they do. If you want to take a photo, I’m not going to say no because we are always told to interact and keep the situation calm,” he reportedly told investigators. All of the documents obtained by McClatchy redact the names of the officers in question. Another officer reportedly told investigators, but forgot to tell anyone else, that he chose an “alpha male” in one group of rioters to take a selfie with in order to be able to better identify him later on. This officer didn’t use his own phone so his plan is relatively suspect, to say the least.
Probably the most distressing piece of information in the Herald report is the details of the officer who USCP investigators tagged “for improper dissemination of information.” According to the report, this allegation came from a tip to the FBI that one of the officers, a week after the events of Jan. 6, shared information about the secure location he helped lawmakers evacuate to during the insurrection. The caller, referred to as ANONYMOUS, left a message that included this statement: “I don’t want to report a friend of 40 years but he says enough concerning statements that I feel like I need to do this … he’s just fallen into this cult and these beliefs.”
The agent told investigators he was not sympathetic to the rioters and that he didn’t remember mentioning the secure location to anyone, but he may have “inadvertently” shared said information.
A week after the insurrection, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke about the fear of that January day at the Capitol building. She mentioned that one of the most traumatizing aspects “was how unsettling that day was. Because there was a sense that something was wrong. And obviously with the violence, but there was a sense that something was wrong from the inside.” Ocasio-Cortez also spoke to the mistrust she felt toward one Capitol Police officer who banged on her door. The congresswoman said he made her and her her legislative director Gerardo Bonilla Chavez feel very uncomfortable. “It didn’t feel right because he was looking at me with a tremendous amount of anger and hostility,” she said.
It was Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s description of her experience that day that right-wing outlets, and people like Tucker Carlson mocked as hyperbole and overly dramatic.
On Wednesday, after the report came out, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez went to her Twitter account and wrote: “There were several reasons I refused to stay in the ‘secure location’ on the 6th. This was one of them. Few people want to discuss the reality and implications of this because it’s politically difficult, fraught, and unpopular, but it’s right there. And we need to talk about it.”
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.