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Philadelphia police investigating if any of their own took part in deadly Capitol riots

The department wants to corroborate reports that a detective might have been there and possibly "participated in any illegal activities."
Image: Protesters seen all over Capitol building where pro-Trump
Protesters converge on the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021.Lev Radin / Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Philadelphia police opened an investigation into one of their own detectives and what role the officer might have played in last week's deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol, officials said Sunday.

The department is aware of "social media posts that allege that a PPD detective may have been in attendance at" Wednesday's protest, which turned violent as mobs stormed the Capitol, Philadelphia police spokesman Sgt. Eric Gripp said in a statement.

The riot, egged on by outgoing President Donald's Trump lies that fraud cost him the election to President-elect Joe Biden, led to the deaths of at least five people.

"An IAB investigation has been opened to determine if any PPD polices were violated by the detective, and if they participated in any illegal activities while in attendance," Gripp said.

"The detective's assignment has been changed pending the outcome of the investigation."

Representatives of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 said the detective went to Washington, D.C., on her own time and committed no criminal acts.

“Our detective traveled to Washington, DC on her day off and exercised her First Amendment rights to attend an event," union president John McNesby said in a statement.

"We believe she has done nothing wrong and we await the results of a complete, internal review. We strongly condemn the violence and loss of life at the Capitol and hope those responsible will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Both the union and police department declined the name detective now under scrutiny.

Mayor Jim Kenney is asking for the public's help to identify any city employee who might have participated in the riot, by calling or emailing Philadelphia's Office of the Inspector General.

“To be clear, we do not at this time have evidence that any city employee broke the law last Wednesday when the Capitol was breached," Kenney said in a statement on Monday.

"And I cannot emphasize enough that any resulting investigations would not lose sight of the right to engage in First Amendment protected activity.”

Over the weekend, police in Rocky Mount, Virginia, placed two officers on administrative leave for their alleged participation in the riots.

And police in Seattle said at least two of their off-duty officers attended the Washington, D.C., event last week.

A West Virginia legislator, who recorded and then deleted a video of himself storming the U.S. Capitol, is also among those criminally charged in connection to the deadly melee. Derrick Evans, a Republican state representative, was charged with knowingly entering a restricted area.

Evans says he did not break any laws, but the freshman lawmaker resigned over the weekend saying in a statement: "I hope this action I take today can remove any cloud of distraction from the state Legislature, so my colleagues can get to work in earnest building a brighter future for our state."

Evans won his seat in November with 37.3 percent of the vote, topping his closest rival, Democrat Ric Griffith, who had 25 percent.