Police Agencies Probe Officer Involvement in Capitol Siege

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Police officers and at least one police chief from across the U.S. are facing termination, suspension or other discipline for their alleged involvement in a chaotic gathering in Washington, D.C., that ended in a riot at the U.S. Capitol and left five people dead, reports the Washington Post. Departments in California, Washington state, and Texas are among those that are investigating their officers based on tips, social media posts and other evidence. The probes come after a fraught year for policing that saw massive civil rights protests against police violence. They are likely to raise questions about free speech, the expansion of surveillance and public trust in law enforcement. Seattle Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz said at least two officers after his department received social media posts showing the officers in Washington. He vowed to fire any officers who were “directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.”

Thomas Goldie, a Pittsburgh area officer with the Zelienople Borough Police Department, is under investigation after he was photographed at Wednesday’s rally wearing a hat that read “Trump MAGA 2020 f— your feelings.” Roxanne Mathai, a Bexar County, Tx., sheriff’s lieutenant in San Antonio, faces an investigation after she posted a video on Facebook of herself at the Capitol draped in a Trump flag; she noted she was not planning to enter the Capitol. Her attorney, Hector Cortes, said he was confident the 46-year-old jail lieutenant would be cleared of wrongdoing because she didn’t participate in any illegal activity. Cortes said he feared his client was being unfairly swept up in the tide of anger over the violent riot. “It would be illogical to discipline people for attending a rally,” said Cardozo School of Law Prof. Kate Levine.

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