LAPD officer who attended Trump rally directed to speak with FBI
A Los Angeles police officer has been ordered by LAPD Chief Michel Moore to tell FBI agents about his attendance at the pro-Trump rally that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The unnamed officer told police officials that he attended the large pro-Trump rally on the National Mall on Jan. 6, where Trump spoke, but left “prior to any other activity and did not participate in anything that occurred at the Capitol,” Moore said.
The officer said that he was back at his D.C. accommodation when he saw on television that people had left the rally and stormed the Capitol, Moore said.
Moore stressed that while simply attending the rally would be a protected 1st Amendment activity, any involvement in the attack on the Capitol would not be and could expose an officer to criminal charges. A department spokesman said the LAPD would cooperate with the FBI if additional investigation into the officer is necessary.
A FBI spokeswoman said the agency “will interview anyone who comes forward with information” about the rally Trump held and the attack on the Capitol building that followed. Information participants provide will not be discussed publicly, the spokeswoman said.
After videos and photos of the assault on the Capitol showed many intruders dressed in military-style tactical gear, law enforcement and military officials have been left to question whether any of their members were involved. Some have placed members on leave while investigations are completed. One town in Virginia put two officers on leave.
The rally and attack were attended by a broad cross-section of Trump supporters, including white supremacists and other extremists. Urged on by Trump, many in the crowd had hoped to stop Congress from counting state electoral votes and confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s win over Trump in November.
The mob was fueled by baseless claims made for weeks by Trump that the election was somehow stolen from him. The claims were dismissed repeatedly in state and federal courts as having no merit.
Moore said the Capitol attack was such a glaring assault on democracy that scrutiny on those who attended was warranted. He said any LAPD officer who was there must “step forward, identify that they traveled, and say what their activities were.”
“This event, this action against our nation’s Capitol, and the sanctity of that democratic process being interrupted by riotous mobs — if anyone in this department had any role in that, first of all, they are to identify themselves,” Moore said.
Capt. Stacy Spell, a LAPD spokesman, said the agency “will cooperate with any investigation that stems from any allegations of misconduct” related to the Capitol attack and its officers.
Moore said he told commanders across the department to learn whether any subordinates were in D.C.
The FBI is conducting a nationwide manhunt for dozens of suspects already identified from pictures and videos at the Capitol. It also has opened a homicide investigation related to the killing of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after being injured in the attack, law enforcement officials told the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
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