Saturday, January 16, 2021

Off-duty police were part of the Capitol mob. Now police are turning in their own.

They are brave. When I was still in the work force, I would sometimes feel compelled to try to engage in a rational discussion when conservatives would go around at work saying jerky political lies. Several times I had co-workers come to me when no one else was around, look around to make sure we were alone, and tell me they agreed with me. Never or almost never did others dare to agree with me publicly. And they weren't likely to be the victims of physical violence from their co workers.

As in any job, people become police for a variety of reasons.  One reason is that they have a pull to protect others.


By Kimberly Kindy,
Kim Bellware and
Mark Berman
Jan. 16, 2021 at 9:14 a.m. EST

During the chaos at the Capitol, overwhelmed police officers confronted and combated a frenzied sea of rioters who transformed the seat of democracy into a battlefield. Now police chiefs across the country are confronting the uncomfortable reality that members in their own ranks were among the mob that faced off against other law enforcement officers.

At least 13 off-duty law enforcement officials are suspected of taking part in the riot, a tally that could grow as investigators continue to pore over footage and records to identify participants. Police leaders are turning in their own to the FBI and taking the striking step of reminding officers in their departments that criminal misconduct could push them off the force and behind bars.


Acevedo, president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, said 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.


It marks a notable break in the so-called “blue wall of silence,” an aspect of police culture that encourages officers to turn a blind eye to misconduct by fellow officers. Craig Futterman, who directs the University of Chicago Law Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project, said the Capitol riot was different.

“The ‘Code of Silence’ is fundamentally about loyalty to your fellow officer and that ‘no one understands what we’re going through but us,’ ” Futterman said. By contrast, there’s something “fundamentally anti-police” about storming the Capitol, he said.


Since the start of his presidency, Trump styled himself as a champion of law enforcement who would restore to policing a level of respect, freedom and power he perceived to have been diminished under President Barack Obama.


Even before Trump declared himself the “law and order candidate” at a 2016 campaign event, he portrayed use of force against racial justice protesters and suspects in police custody as virtuous: As a candidate, he offered to pay the legal fees of his supporters who assaulted protesters disrupting his rallies. Not long after taking office in 2017, he told a crowd of police not to worry about injuring the people they arrest.


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