At least 13 off-duty law enforcement officials under investigation for participating in Capitol riots
As the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) continues its investigation into the U.S. Capitol riots, law enforcement agencies on the state and local level are also tasked with conducting investigations to see if members of their own agencies participated in the deadly riots.
According to The Washington Post, so far, a total of 13 off-duty law enforcement officials are believed to have been involved in the U.S. Capitol riots. However, it has also been reported that the "tally that could grow as investigators continue to pore over footage and records to identify participants."
With Inauguration Day fast approaching, law enforcement agencies are looking to close in on investigations as soon as possible due to the possibility of violence ahead of President-elect Joe Biden taking office.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo opted to specify how the First Amendment factors into this particular situation. Despite Trump supporters and conservatives' belief that their rights are being violated, Acevedo argued that committing criminal acts while exercising First Amendment rights is where the line is drawn.
"We are making clear that they have First Amendment rights like all Americans," Acevedo said, adding, "However, engaging in activity that crosses the line into criminal conduct will not be tolerated."
Acevedo, also president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, insisted that "the behavior is so egregious that it is often fellow officers who are alerting police chiefs and others to their colleagues' participation in last week's mob attack on the Capitol."
The latest development about police officers' possible involvement in the Capitol riots has renewed calls for defunding the police. While many Republicans have argued that the civil rights protests that took place over the summer were worse than the Capitol riots, Craig Futterman, director of the University of Chicago Law Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project explained how the Capitol riots are distinctly different.
Futterman said, "The 'Code of Silence' is fundamentally about loyalty to your fellow officer and that 'no one understands what we're going through but us.'" He also noted that there is something "'fundamentally anti-police' about storming the Capitol."
As of Saturday, Jan. 16, the FBI revealed the agency has made over 100 arrests in connection with the Capitol riots.
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