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Rocky Mount officers at Capitol riot suspended without pay

Published: Jan. 23, 2021 at 12:04 PM EST
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ROCKY MOUNT, Va. (WDBJ) - Two Rocky Mount Police Officers have been suspended without pay as the FBI continues to investigate their involvement in the violent protests at the U.S. Capitol Building January 6.

In Facebook messages to WDBJ7 reporters, one of the officers had said they were in the back of the Capitol, were allowed inside, and did not see any of the violence.

However, federal search warrants paint a different picture.

In the weeks following the violence in Washington D.C., the Town of Rocky Mount is dealing with the fallout after two Rocky Mount police officers were pictured inside the U.S. Capitol Building during the riot.

The officers seen in a selfie inside the Capitol are Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson.

They are both facing federal charges, including being on restricted building or grounds and violent entry or disorderly conduct.

The Town of Rocky Mount says as of Friday both have been suspended without pay.

Community members who have been protesting for their removal say this is a step in the right direction.

“It is a good feeling that they are being held accountable, but there is still more work that needs to be done in our system,” community activist Bridgette Craighead said.

The suspension comes after recently-unsealed search warrants reveal new details about Fracker and Robertson’s involvement. In a 20-page document (see below), the FBI refers to messages, photos and videos the officers had sent to friends and family.

In one Facebook message, Fracker alluded to using House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s toilet. Later Fracker says there were “Flash bangs going off, CS Gas, rubber bullets flying by” saying he was “like the 8th person inside the building.”

The document also shows communications between Robertson and others.

At one point Robertson talks to a relative, saying, “Safe at home. Bumps bruised and eyes sore from tear gas but good!”

Days later, January 9, Robertson sends a message and a photo to a friend, explaining how he was shot with a rubber bullet, then sends a picture of a large bruise.

In a statement, the Town of Rocky Mount says, “We are fully aware of the serious nature of the information contained in the federal arrest warrants and are continuing to assist with federal agents as they investigate this matter.”

Rocky Mount says the town and its police department are conducting their own review and have plans to conclude their investigation early next week.

The officers were originally placed on administrative leave the weekend after the Jan. 6 protests.

The officers are expected to appear back in court Feb. 2.

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The two Rocky Mount police offers facing federal charges for their involvement in the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol were suspended without pay as of Friday, January 22.

“This action is part of our ongoing cooperation with the federal investigation into the presence of both men at the Washington, D.C. Capitol building on January 6. We are fully aware of the serious nature of the information contained in the federal arrest warrants and are continuing to assist with federal agents as they investigate this matter,” added the Town of Rocky Mount.

Along with the Rocky Mount Police Department, the Town says they are prepared to conclude their investigation early next week and release another update.

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