A lot of debate in nearby Franklin County about the two Rocky Mount police officers who drove to Washington, DC, to participate in the assault on the U.S Capitol on Jan. 6.
Franklin County is not alone. Many communities have found that some of “their own” were part of the mob of thugs that stormed the seat of our national government, broke down barricades, ransacked offices, smeared the walls with graffiti/excrement, terrorized members of Congress and killed a Capitol Hill Police officer.
Sgt. Thomas “T. J.” Robertson, 47, a product of Floyd County, says he “did nothing wrong.” The feds say otherwise when they charged he and fellow officer Jacob Fracker, 29, with “knowingly entering a restrictive building without authority, knowingly engaging in conduct that disrupts government business” and “engaging in disruptive conduct in the Capitol in order to interfere with a session of Congress.”
On Facebook, Robertson posted a photo of he and Fracker in front of a statute in the U.S. Capitol and bragged that “we actually attacked the government.” His posts on social media sites showed strong support of the never-proven claim that Joe Biden beat disgraced president Donald Trump through voter fraud. One post suggested he and others would have to resort to violence to settle the matter.
“I’ve spent most of my adult life fighting a counter insurgency,” he bragged. “I’m about to become part of one, and a very effective one.”
Federal authorities arrested both last Wednesday and federal Magistrate Judge Robert Ballou placed them on $14,000 unsecured bonds, ordered them to stay away from “any public assembly, demonstration or protest” and said they cannot possess firearms until the case is resolved.
Both are also on paid “administrative leave” from the Rocky Mount Police Department until their department figures out what to do with them.
Social media comments have alternated between criticism and muted praise for their actions. Similar debates have erupted in other communities. Up in Aberdeen, MD, Christian Trabert, 24, posted: “Yeah, I stormed the Capitol. Yeah, I took my country back. And no, I don’t feel bad. I feel great!”
Trabert of son of Aberdeen’s police chief.
Turns out that law enforcement officers and military vets were part of the mob that invaded Washington on that day. They have sworn, in the past, to protect this nation from “all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Instead, the became part of domestic terrorism that tried to bring this nation down, destroy its democracy and and it’s way of life.
“ISIS and al-Qaida would drool over having someone with the training and experience of a U.S. military officer,” Michael German, a former FBI agent and fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, tells The Associated Press. “These people have training and capabilities that far exceed what any foreign terrorist group can do. Foreign terrorist groups don’t have any members who have badges.”
Police in Washington on that fateful day, arrested retired Air Force Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock Jr. of Texas with zip-tie handcuffs on the Senate floor where they said he was trying to locate and take Senators hostage.
Police also arrested retired Navy SEAL Adam Newbold. He said he was “proud” of the assault.
“We are just very prepared, very capable and very skilled patriots ready for a fight,” said Newbold, a tw0-decade SEAL with multiple combat awards and medals.
The AP reports that police departments in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston and Philadelphia are investigating reports that officers from their forces participated in the riot on Capitol Hill.
In Bexar County, Texas, Sheriff Javier Salazar said Lt. Roxanne Mathai was there.
“Not gonna lie,” 46-year-old Mathai posted on social media. “Aside from my kids, this was, indeed, the best day of my life.”
In West Virginia, Derrick Chase, a new state legislator elected in 2020, was part of the mob too, pushing his way into the Capitol wearing a helmet and chanting into his smartphone: “Who’s house? “Our House!” He was forced to resign or face expulsion from the West Virginia governing body. He chose to resign.
In Virginia, state Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, was in Washington on Jan. 6 and called those who came to riot “patriots” as she repeated the discredited claims of voter fraud.
Her actions have brought calls for the state Senate to censure Chase. Others want her expelled. Chase, who is running for Governor as “as female Donald Trump” recites “voter fraud” fantasies as “facts” and spews out other disproven conspiracy theories.
“Having an American flag draped over your shoulders doesn’t make you a patriot,” says Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax. He calls Chase’s claims “a fairy tale.”
Sen. Adam Ebbin, Alexandria, agrees.
“Repeating lies and conspiracy theories doesn’t make them true,” he said.
Chase says she is “specifically mourning” the death of Ashli Babbitt, a Trump supporter and conspiracy theorist shot and killed when she tried to force her way into the Capitol, but offered no mourns for Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was beaten to death by the rioters.
“I think it’s important for those in this body to understand what other Virginians are thinking right now and why they are upset,” Chase claims.
Virginians, in a record vote, gave Biden victory over Trump and polls since the Jan. 6 riot show most condemn the violence and applaud the defeat of Trump.