Please practice greater situational awareness from January 17 to January 20. We all trust that those whose jobs it is to keep the nation safe are doing that effectively despite the numbers of law enforcement officials participating in violent anti-government demonstrations.
Police officers and at least one police chief from departments across the United States are facing termination, suspension or other discipline for their proximity to or alleged involvement in a chaotic gathering in Washington on Wednesday that ended in a riot at the U.S. Capitol and left five people dead.Departments in California, Washington state, and Texas are among those that have announced investigations into their officers based on tips, social media posts and other evidence, though more officers could be identified as evidence emerges in the coming days.The probes come after an especially fraught year for U.S. policing that saw massive civil rights protests against police violence. They are likely to raise questions about free speech, the expansion of surveillance and public trust in law enforcement, while legal experts warn the scrutiny could have unintended consequences.
[…]Most departments have policies prohibiting officers from participating in political rallies while in uniform, but otherwise they’re able to express political views. Engaging in violence or other behavior that violates department codes — even if it’s not a criminal offense — could lead to termination, including expressing support for criminal or discriminatory acts, Acevedo said.“If you’re openly liking and supporting comments [conveying] support for people who had nooses, or were screaming about finding the vice president of the United States and harming him and who were caught with molotov cocktails — you’ll likely receive severe sanctions,” he said.
— Ruth Ben-Ghiat (@ruthbenghiat) January 7, 2021
— Pamela Colloff (@pamelacolloff) January 10, 2021
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 8, 2021
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) January 10, 2021
— Richard Yeselson (@yeselson) January 9, 2021
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 8, 2021
They thought, “This is the thing we have been asked to do. Trump is telling us to do this, so we have to do it.” But more than that, it must be important enough, the key to his winning. Because why would he ask us to come to Washington if it wasn't part of the plan? It wouldn't make any sense. There's a trend among the Trump fans—it's almost religious—to see him as basically infallible and any mistakes are caused by bad people around him. He wouldn't be calling us to Washington unless there was a purpose that would ultimately end in him winning the election.
So they saw that, and are convinced they're coming in order to win the election. Or perhaps they're going to be an army. You can see the discussions around this: “Why has he asked us to come? Surely there's a reason.” They would say, “Should we bring guns? Is he asking us to bring guns? But maybe he doesn't want us to be armed because if we're armed we'll get in trouble, and we need to be there.”
You could see the discussion become less abstract. By last week, these people were sharing maps of D.C. They were talking about having enough of them that they would be able to erect basically their own cadre around the entire area of Congress. They had a map of the tunnels [in the basement of the Capitol], and they were talking about how they're going to be able to stop Congress from leaving. They imagined that this was the day there were going to be mass executions of Congressmen.
But a lot of them also just imagined they were going to be there for this historic time when Trump pulled away the curtain and revealed that all of Congress were traitors and then took his just and equal revenge. There were a variety of characters: people who were there to watch Trump gain control and people who thought Trump would win, but only by activating the military, [with] a proper military coup that they supported. They thought they were there to go and purge Congress. They were there to stop the certification. They were there to punish those who went against Trump. When you put them all together, you get this explosive mixture.
The only thing that surprised me was that it was not the army I expected it to be.
— Wagatwe Wanjuki 🇰🇪 🇧🇸 (@wagatwe) January 10, 2021
— Katie Benner (@ktbenner) January 10, 2021