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Two Virginia police officers charged in connection to Capitol riot

The Hill logo The Hill 1 day ago Jordan Williams
a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Two Virginia police officers charged in connection to Capitol riot © Getty Images Two Virginia police officers charged in connection to Capitol riot

Two off-duty police officers in Virginia have been charged in connection to the deadly breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Rocky Mount Police Officers Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson were arrested Wednesday after they were photographed inside the Capitol making an obscene gesture in front of the John Stark statute, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia announced.

A photo included as an exhibit in the criminal complaint released by authorities shows the men posing in front of the statue with their fingers raised.

In a social media post included in the complaint, Robertson said, "CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business ... The right IN ONE DAY took the f------ U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us."

He also said he was "proud" of the photo in an Instagram post that was shared to Facebook because he was "willing to put his skin in the game."

In a separate Facebook post, Fracker said, "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." That post has since been deleted, but was also an exhibit to the criminal complaint.

Robertson admitted to Newsweek that he and Fracker sent the photo to police department colleagues and posted it to his own Facebook page after it was leaked, according to the complaint.

The complaint also says Robertson claimed he broke no laws and was escorted in by police, "notwithstanding his previous posts that he had 'attacked the government' and 'took the f------ Capitol.'"

Both men have been charged with 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.

Local news outlet WDBJ reported last Sunday that the officers were placed on administrative leave pending a review of the matter.

In a statement to sent to The Hill Thursday evening, the Rocky Mount Police Department said that upon learning the officers were in the Capitol, "a report was filed by our department with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to launch a formal investigation in connection to the protest and riot that occurred and the presence of these individuals," adding "the incident is still unfolding as it is a complex investigation."

"We want to affirm that our department has and will continue to follow strict protocols for investigating and responding to allegations of officer misconduct."

The Department previously said the two were on administrative leave and an investigation is ongoing.

The U.S. attorney's office for D.C. has charged more than 70 cases following the attack on the U.S. Capitol that left five dead, and the FBI has opened investigations into more than 170 people.

Updated at 6:10 p.m.

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