Fired Rocky Mount police officers join other off-duty cops, vets in Capitol riot arrests

Fired Rocky Mount Police Department Sgt. Thomas “T.J.” Robertson and officer Jacob Fracker in the Capitol in front of a statute of John Stark, a Revolutionary War officer famous for writing the state motto of New Hampshire, “Live Free or Die.” (Courtesy United States Capitol Police via AP)

Rocky Mount’s two wayward police officer, with stories that continue to change about what they or did not do inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, are now ex-cops after getting fired Tuesday.

Town Manager James Ervin confirmed Tuesday that former Thomas “T.J.” Robertson and former Officer Jacob Fracker are no longer affiliated with the Rocky Mount police department.

In a written statement, Ervin said:

We hear those who have communicated their anger and frustration about the actions of these individuals or our response to those actions. 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 events of the past few weeks have been challenging for our town, as they have been for the entire nation. 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.

The town had offered both officer a change to resign but when they did not, they were officially fired Tuesday.

“I plan to contest the termination by all means available,” Robertson told The Roanoke Times by email. Fracker refused to comment.

The officers are just two of other law enforcement officers terminated by their departments around the country after they were off duty but went to Washington and became part of the violent protest as supporters of disgraced ex-president Trump, who continues to claim, without evidence or other proof, that he lost his re-election bid through “voter fraud” that more than 90 state and federal judges have ruled does not exist.

After a photo of the two officers in the Capitol appeared on social media, they were placed on administrative leave with pay while the town conducted an investigation. That status was changed to suspension without pay as federal charges were filed against both on Jan. 13.

Both face up to a year and a half in jail, plus fines, for knowingly entering a restricted building without authority to disrupt government business and interfere with a session of Congress.

The FBI, in court, says investigations of both are continuing and a unsealed warrant cites comments where Robertson bragged about “attacking the Capitol” and Fracker claimed to have “pissed” in the bathroom of the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, along with video images of him participating in the riot.

Robertson is a Floyd Countian who apparently still lives in the county. Fracker, a member of the Virginia National Guard, is the first active service member arrested for involvement in the violent protest that trashed the Capitol, shut down Congress during it Constitutional duty to ratify the results of the Electoral Vote for president and resulted in four deaths, including a Capitol Police Officer.

Reports the Army Times:

Fracker is a corporal and an infantryman with the Virginia Army National Guard, while Robertson previously served as a military policeman in the Army Reserve. Fracker is the first active service member known to be charged in connection to the Capitol riot.

On Facebook, Robertson said:

CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business,” Robertson said on social media, according to the complaint. “The right IN ONE DAY took the fucking U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.

The post was later deleted, but it was reposted by others elsewhere.

Gabirel Garcia (Department of Justice Photo)

Besides off-duty police officers and current enlisted military personnel, veterans like Gabriel A. Garcia, a former Army captain and Iraq war vet, have been arrested.

The FBI arrested Garcia in Miami after identifying him as a riot participant who was caught in action inside the Capitol, called Capitol police officers “fucking traitors” and warned them that they “ain’t gonna old a million back today.”

The Army Times reports Garcia joined the Army in 2002, served in Iraq in 2009-10 and has been in both the National Guard and Reserve.

In one of his videos, Garcia was wearng a red “Make America Great Again” hat and said “we just went ahead and stormed the Capitol. It’s about to get ugly.” In the Rotunda, he chanted: “Nancy, come out in play,” referring to Speaker Pelosi.

He also yelled “Free Enrique,” an apparent reference to Enrique Tarrio, the Miami-based leader of the right-wing “Proud Boys,” who was jailed on charges stemming from ripping down a Black Lives Matter off a Washington, DC, church.

Others with military connections arrested include Army Reserve Sgt. Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, 30. Besides being in the Army Reserve, Cusanelli works as a contractor at a Navy Weapons station, holds a security clearance and has access to “a variety of munitions,” according to a report from the Navy Criminal Investigative Service.

The NCIS investigation also reported that an informant recorded Hale-Cusanelli admitting his actions in the Capitol. The informant described Hale-Cusanelli as “an avowed white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer.”

Another veteran arrested by the FBI was Daniel A. Baker, an absent without leave soldier with an “other-than-honorable discharge” who traveled to Syria to join a Kurdish militia called the YPG.

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