WASHINGTON — Six United States Capitol Police officers have been found responsible for wrongdoing as a result of their actions during the Capitol riots on Jan. 6.
In a release, USCP said three of the violations were for conduct unbecoming; one for failure to comply with directives; one for improper remarks and one for improper dissemination of information.
No details were given about the incidents that prompted the complaints.
The USCP release also says another case about an official who is accused of unsatisfactory performance and conduct unbecoming is still pending. USCP said that administrative investigation started after a criminal investigation into the official, in which charges were not filed. USCP says the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not find sufficient evidence that any of the officers committed a crime.
“The six sustained cases should not diminish the heroic efforts of the United States Capitol Police officers,” the statement read. “On January 6, the bravery and courage exhibited by the vast majority of our employees was inspiring.”
The internal investigations were carried out by the USCP’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which launched 38 internal investigations in all. In 20 of the cases, no wrongdoing was found, and investigators could not identify the officers accused of wrongdoing in the remaining cases, thus they did not pursue the complaints further.
Five people died as a result of the attack at the Capitol on Jan. 6 including a police officer. Four other officers on duty that day have since died by suicide, and more than 100 officers were injured after being harassed, beaten and sprayed with chemical substances by the mob.
But questions have been raised, particularly by attorneys representing Capitol riot defendants, about the role U.S. Capitol Police played in allowing people to enter the Capitol on Jan. 6. At least one U.S. Capitol Police Officer was seen on video taking a selfie with a rioter.
“This is a gamechanger for many of the charges," said Nabeel Kibria, a D.C. defense attorney who represented Capitol Riot defendants who pled guilty to misdemeanor charges. “Any interactions those officers had with defendants would probably taint the case somewhat, and DOJ would probably have to take a hard look at how they want to deal with that.”
Already the sustained violations by the USCP officers are having ripple effects in court. Monday during a hearing for Thomas Fee of New York, who is charged with four criminal counts including violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol Building, federal prosecutors told Judge John Bates they needed to review video evidence against the six officers before moving forward with Fee’s case.
The prosecutors said they “don’t think there’s anything exculpatory toward the client” but that they “need to see the videos.”
Prosecutors told the judge they also expected to receive a list of the officer’s involved, which have not been released publicly. But Monday, a USCP spokesperson told WUSA9 “officer names, witness names, and complainant names were redacted,” from the information turned over to the Department of Justice.
“USCP internal investigations, including any recommended disciplinary actions, as well as personal matters are not public information” the USCP statement read.
Yet the statement continued, saying "The Department is committed to accountability when officers fail to meet the standards governed by USCP policies and the Congressional Communities expectations."
In a statement, Gus Papathanasiou, chairman of the Capitol Police Officers’ Union, said although he does not condone the inappropriate behavior on the part of any of his officers, they are a small minority of the 1,200 front-line Capitol Police officers who defended the Capitol January 6.
“I believe in accountability," Papathanasiou said. "Even one incident of an officer not fulfilling their duty is one too many. Yet, we have leaders still on the payroll who completely failed to fulfill their duties, up to and during the Capitol attack, who have evaded all consequences. Some of those leaders that were in charge on Jan. 6 failed miserably on that day and have since been promoted as they hide in plain sight.”
A USCP spokesperson said new U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger will make the final decision on disciplinary measures for the officers.