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A Los Angeles police officer who attended the pro-Trump rally just before last week’s deadly US Capitol riot has been directed to speak to the FBI, department officials said.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said the unnamed officer admitted to being at the “Stop the Steal” rally on Wednesday when President Trump spoke on the National Mall.
But the officer said he left “prior to any other activity and did not participate in anything that occurred at the Capitol,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
The cop insisted he was back at his accommodations in DC when rioters later stormed the Capitol but was still ordered to speak with FBI investigators about his conduct, Michel told reporters Tuesday.
“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,” the chief said, adding that he told department brass to look into whether any other employees were in Washington last Wednesday.
Michel vowed a “swift response” if evidence links any LAPD personnel to misconduct or criminal activity that day, KABC reported.
“Anyone that we identify that has traveled will be ordered and directed to provide an interview with the FBI, as they are interested in witnesses,” Michel said.
Moore stressed that simply attending the rally would be protected by the First Amendment but any involvement in the Capitol siege could expose LAPD employees to criminal charges, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The LAPD will cooperate with the FBI’s probe into the officer if necessary, a department spokesman told the newspaper.
A spokeswoman for the FBI, meanwhile, said the federal agency will “interview anyone who comes forward” with information on the Trump rally and the subsequent US Capitol siege that left five people dead, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.
FBI and Department of Justice officials said Tuesday that a wide-ranging investigation was underway into the deadly riot, with more than 70 people charged thus far. More than 100,000 pieces of digital evidence are being analyzed and authorities said they expect “hundreds” of people to be charged.
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