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May 17, 2021

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Metro Police investigating whether employees took part in Capitol riot


AP Photo

Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 | 2:22 p.m.

Metro Police are investigating whether department personnel participated in the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last week, which killed five people, including a Capitol police officer.

“As the (FBI) continues its investigation into the attack on the Capitol in Washington, D.C., (Metro) received information that some of its employees may have participated,” police said Tuesday in an email statement.

“We intend to conduct a thorough inquiry into these allegations and will cooperate with federal officials in any way we can to aid in this investigation,” police continued.

Off-duty officers, like any ordinary citizen, can practice their First Amendment rights, but must do so peacefully, said Metro Officer Larry Hadfield, adding that “they cannot commit crimes as LVMPD employees anywhere, across the board.”

Those who do are subject to internal investigation in addition to the criminal justice system, Hadfield said.

When representing the department in an official capacity, officers must abstain from publicly expressing their opinions on racial, religious, political or "controversial subjects," according to Metro employee policy.

North Las Vegas Police Department officials say they aren’t aware of any employees who attended the riots.

As for department policy, they wrote in an email that “policies, procedures, rules, and regulations are adopted in the interest of discipline and efficient police service and are not intended to create higher standards than imposed by law. They are to be used as a guide to consistently do the right thing for the community, as long as it is safe, legal, and ethical.

Any consequence would follow our departments policy and procedures for disciplinary actions which range from the following: A verbal warning, re-training, and all the way to termination with the possibility of criminal prosecution.”

It wasn’t clear if any Henderson Police personnel were being investigated. Henderson Police hasn't responded to a request for comment.

As photos and video from the deadly siege continue to be disseminated and federal prosecutors bring criminal charges, police departments across the U.S. are looking into their officers’ actions.

Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said last week that he’d learned of at least two of his officers traveling to Washington, D.C., during the disturbances.

“The department fully supports all lawful expressions of First Amendment freedom of speech, but the violent mob and events that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol were unlawful and resulted in the death of another police officer,” Diaz wrote in a statement, adding that they were placed on leave. “If any (Seattle police) officers were directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, I will immediately terminate them.”

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in Texas was investigating a lieutenant after she posted photos from the Capitol protest, according to the CBS local affiliate.

Chicago Police also were investigating their officers, according to the Associated Press, which reported that the head of Chicago’s largest police union was criticized for downplaying the actions of the mob. Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara, a Trump sympathizer, later apologized.