Virginia police officers suspended without pay for joining Capitol riots

The penalty for the misdemeanor is up to a year in jail. The penalty for the petty offense is up to six months in jail.

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Charged with unlawful entry and disorderly conduct after participating in the Capitol riots on January 6, two Virginia police officers have been suspended without pay and will be terminated on Tuesday. The officers were caught after posing for a selfie during the attack on the Capitol and posting the photo on Facebook.

On January 6, off-duty Rocky Mount Police Sergeant Thomas Robertson and Officer Jacob Fracker were recorded on several videos infiltrating the Capitol while protesting against the presidential election results. In a written statement provided to The Roanoke Times, Robertson recalled, “I did observe areas being blocked off by them and stayed away from those areas as instructed, as did all others I observed. I and Officer Fracker had gotten separated at this point by the large volume of people, so I made my way to the statue room, a public area, where I located him again.”

Standing in front of a statue of John Stark, the officers posed for a selfie and later posted the photo on Facebook. In the photo, Robertson can be seen holding a wooden pole as Fracker raises his middle finger.

On January 10, the officers were placed on paid administrative leave. On January 13, they were charged with a misdemeanor of knowingly entering a restricted building without authority to do so and knowingly engaging in conduct that disrupts government business and the petty offense of engaging in disruptive conduct in the Capitol in order to interfere with a session of Congress.

The penalty for the misdemeanor is up to a year in jail. The penalty for the petty offense is up to six months in jail.

On Friday, Robertson and Fracker were informed that they have been suspended without pay and will be terminated on Tuesday for “conduct unbecoming of an officer.” The officers have the choice to resign or retire before Tuesday.

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