Authorities fired two police officers, one of whom is a corporal in the Virginia National Guard, on Tuesday after they were arrested and charged earlier this month in connection to the Jan. 6 deadly Capitol riot.
In a statement on Tuesday, town manager James Ervin confirmed that the Rocky Mount Police Department fired Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson after the town completed their review of the case.
“We hear those who have communicated their anger and frustration about the actions of these individuals or our response to those actions,” Ervin said in a statement. “We have treated the process of review seriously from the beginning and thank those who contributed and in coordinating a response in a quick, objective and lawful manner.”
The Rocky Mount Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
On Jan. 13, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia charged Fracker and Robertson with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Fracker was the first known service member arrest in connection to the Capitol siege. He served as an 11B infantryman in a traditional National Guard station, according to a statement from the U.S. Army. He is currently not on duty with Virginia National Guard troops in Washington, D.C., the Army said.
Both officers were off duty when they were photographed in the Capitol making obscene gestures in front of a statue of John Stark, a Revolutionary War general, according to authorities.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said the men did not conceal their involvement in the storming of the Capitol on social media.
According to prosecutors, Robertson said in a since-deleted social media post: “CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business.”
The office said Fracker posted a comment on a Facebook post: “Lol to anyone who’s possibly concerned about the picture of me going around … Sorry I hate freedom? ... Not like I did anything illegal.”
On Friday, Rocky Mount police suspended Fracker and Robertson without pay before their termination on Tuesday, according to an online statement.
It wasn’t immediately clear Tuesday if Robertson had a lawyer. A spokesperson for Fracker's attorney said they could not comment on an active case. Fracker and Robertson did not return phone calls to numbers listed for them on Tuesday.
Robertson told NBC affiliate WSLS the picture of him was taken “long after any disorder" happened. According to the news station, Robertson said two Capitol police officers were guarding an open door and proceeded to walk in.
Robertson said he and Fracker were handed water bottles and told to stay within a roped area, the station reported. He maintained that neither of the two officers did anything illegal and didn’t participate in any act of violence, according to WSLS.
Earlier this month, a spokesperson for the Capitol Police told NBC News that investigators were reviewing video and camera footage of some officers who appeared to be in violation of its policies on the day of the incursion for "disciplinary action, up to, and including, termination."
Several officers have already been suspended pending the outcome of their investigations, according to the department.
Robertson told The Roanoke Times that he and Fracker received letters of termination from the town on Friday. The letter offered the officers an opportunity to resign before they were effectively fired on Tuesday, the newspaper reported.
Fracker declined to comment on his termination on Tuesday, according to the newspaper.
Fracker and Robertson were among dozens of pro-Trump rioters who federal investigators are searching for after the Capitol riot, which left five dead, including a police officer.
Among others facing charges are two men who were seen carrying restraints, a West Virginia legislator, an Arizona QAnon supporter seen carrying a 6-foot spear and a Florida man photographed with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern.
Ervin said it was a “challenging time” for the town of Rocky Mount since the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol.
“The actions by two have driven our beautiful town into the national spotlight in ways that do not reflect our whole community and the people who call Rocky Mount home,” Ervin said.
“Our town is a patchwork of people rooted to and connected by their love for this area and that is where we want to focus moving forward,” he said.