AUTHORITIES are reportedly honing in on more than a dozen cops suspected of assisting a violent mob of Trump supporters to besiege the US Capitol.
The rioters, encouraged by Donald Trump moments earlier to converge on the Capitol, swept past law enforcement and rampaged the halls of Congress on Wednesday.
The insurrection resulted in the deaths of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher, and a rioter who was shot by a police officer as she tried to push her way into the heavily protected Speaker’s Lobby, just outside the House chamber.
Three others died as a result of “medical emergencies” on the Capitol grounds, according to authorities.
Dozens of people have been arrested and charged with unlawful entry, curfew violations and firearms-related crimes, to name a few. More arrests and charges are expected to come in connection with the siege.
Further, the FBI is reportedly investigating up to 15 members of the Capitol Police, about whether they facilitated the insurrection by helping plan the riot and/or clearing the path for rioters to storm the Capitol, TMZ reports.
According to the site’s unnamed sources “with direct knowledge” of the probe, the FBI has made “considerable headway” in its investigation of the officers in question and their conduct which allegedly “ranges from getting out of the way of the rioters to something much more nefarious”.
The FBI believes some of the officers and other staffers in the building may have facilitated the takeover by helping the rioters navigate the building and locate hard-to-find areas including Nancy Pelosi’s office, TMZ reports.
One clip posted on Twitter appears to show cops letting a group of rioters through the gates of the Capitol building as lawmakers met inside to certify the results of November’s election.
However, it has been suggested that the officers opened the gate because a “larger barricade” was being set up behind them.
Another video shows masked rioters inside the building taking selfies with officers.
A third clip, first posted on TikTok, shows the wider mob breaking through the barricades and overwhelming cops outside the Capitol building.
As the protesters carrying Trump flags burst through the gates, others can be heard roaring with approval.
Twitter users expressed their fury after watching the clips appearing to show officers allowing rioters to enter the Capitol building.
One said: “This is so beyond scary. I can’t believe these scenes are the US and not a third world country.”
Others tweeted: “They are all complicit” and “It’s an inside job.”
Another user posted: “This disgusts me to my core.”
The scenes quickly turned violent as the mob attempted to gain access to the chambers of Congress.
One woman who was shot by police later died in hospital and another three people died from “medical emergencies” during the riots. Police officer Brian Sicknick was killed after reportedly being struck by a fire extinguisher and his colleague Howard Liebengood, who also responded to the siege, died by suicide a few days later.
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Rioters were eventually seen inside the chamber of the Senate with one shouting “Trump won that election” while standing on the lectern.
Another Trump fan was injured after falling from a balcony at the Capitol.
Two officers have already been suspended by the Department.
The suspensions involved an officer taking selfies with Capitol rioters and an officer wearing a Make America Great Again hat and taking protesters around, Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan said in a virtual press briefing on Monday afternoon.
Ryan did not know the reason for the arrest and was not sure if the law enforcement official was a Capitol Police officer or a Guardsman.
The Democrat from Ohio said he would get more details on the arrest.
There are 10 to 15 Capitol Police officers under investigation for their behavior during Wednesday’s riot.
“The interim chief is taking aggressive action within the department to find out if there was any” help or coordination, Ryan said.
Democratic lawmakers are raising questions into whether Capitol Police officers and leaders sympathized with Trump supporters.
The United States Capitol Police is run by a board and lawmakers are engaging in bipartisan conversations around increased oversight.
Ryan said lawmakers will have to make “a lot of changes around the structure of the buildings, the perimeters, the roles and responsibilities.”
Regarding a lack of use of force, Ryan said that “clearly lives were being put at risk” and “mob rule had taken over.”
Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who chairs a House committees overseeing the Capitol Police, said an investigation will be launched into the two viral videos.
“A number of social media have indicated concerns about individual officers who, you know, if you look at the video, may have taken selfies with these seditionists or even let them in,” Lofgren said.
“We need to thoroughly investigate that, but I also know there were many officers who responded with tremendous bravery. Many officers were injured protecting the Capitol and we do thank them for their patriotism in protecting this temple of democracy.”
Probes into any ties rioters had to law enforcement are high priority because the skills that cops are trained to use—like handling firearms, making arrests, clearing rooms and securing areas—could be useful to an extremist mob, authorities told CNN.
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