Two Off-Duty Virginia Cops Federally Charged After Taking a Selfie During U.S. Capitol Riots
Two police officers have been charged by federal authorities in connection with the deadly riot that took place at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. last week.
On Wednesday, Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson — police officers from Rocky Mount, Virginia — were both charged with unlawful entry into a restricted area and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to a statement from the United States Department of Justice.
Fracker and Robertson, who were off duty when they attended the riots, photographed themselves in front of the John Stark statue inside the Capitol, where one of the cops was seen making "an obscene gesture," per the Department of Justice statement.
NBC affiliate WSLS 10 reported that the two men appeared virtually in federal court for their first hearing, where it was revealed that jail time would not be sought for both Fracker and Robertson, who are each on a $15,000 unsecured bond.
The government initially wanted the two men to wear GPS tracking ankle bracelets, but the outlet reported that the judge felt that step was not required. Fracker and Robertson, however, are banned from going to Washington, D.C. and from taking part in any other protests while out on bail. They both are also required to surrender their firearms.
According to the Department of Justice statement, Robertson previously shared a message on social media about his time attending the U.S. Capitol riot. "CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business ... The right IN ONE DAY took the f------ U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us," the statement alleges he wrote.
The statement also notes that he said he was "proud" of the photo on an Instagram post that was shared to Facebook, because he was "willing to put skin in the game."
Elsewhere, on Facebook, the statement alleges that Fracker also wrote his own social media message, which the statement says has since been deleted.
"Lol to anyone who's possibly concerned about the picture of me going around... Sorry I hate freedom? …Not like I did anything illegal…y'all do what you feel you need to," he allegedly wrote.
RELATED VIDEO: Pro-Trump Rioters Storm U.S. Capitol, Forcing Evacuation of Lawmakers
Motivated by President Donald Trump, 74, thousands of rioters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, forcing members of Congress to evacuate and leading to the pause of the joint session, which had been called to certify the Electoral College votes cast in the 2020 presidential election.
Speaking with The Roanoke Times, Robertson told the publication that he and Fracker didn't participate in or even see any forms of violence. He detailed that Capitol Police allowed the two into the building, served them bottled water and told them to stay within certain areas.
Robertson noted to the outlet that he did not support the violence that happened inside the U.S. Capitol. "Absolutely not," he said. "For it to go like that is absolutely ridiculous."
"We were escorted in by the Capitol Police, shown around and told, 'As long as you stay here, you're fine,'" he added.