Philadelphia, PA – A Philadelphia police detective has been reassigned and forced to hand over her duty weapon after social media posts surfaced indicating she attended the pro-President Trump rally on the day of the U.S. Capitol riot.
Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) Detective Jennifer Gugger, 51, has been stripped of her weapon and reassigned from her job conducting background checks on police recruits, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
An internal investigation was launched after department administrators became aware that Det. Gugger had allegedly traveled to Washington, DC to participate in the rally on Jan. 6, the PPD said.
The department initially noted that Det. Gugger was only being reassigned while the investigation was underway, and that the tip they received did not include evidence the veteran officer had anything to do with storming the U.S. Capitol, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“The allegation was that she was at the event,” PPD spokesperson Sergeant Eric Gripp told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Due to what unfolded at the event, we have opened an Internal Affairs investigation to see precisely what, if any, participation she had in it.”
The department’s decision to take away her duty weapon came days later.
“A decision was made during the investigation to take her gun and place her on restricted duty,” Sgt. Gripp said.
Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President John McNesby said he believes Det. Gugger did nothing wrong and had nothing to do with the Capitol riot.
He said restricting Det. Gugger’s police powers is a normal part of an internal investigation, and figured department leaders were “probably just getting around to it,” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Investigators are also working to determine whether or not several social media posts Det. Gugger made violate department policy.
She referred to Vice President Mike Pence as a “traitor and a cabal operative and pedophile” in one tweet, and accused him of selling his soul to the devil and being filled with “the deadly sin of greed” in another post, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Det. Gugger posted a photo referencing the QAnon conspiracy theory as her Facebook profile picture in October of 2020.
QAnon adherents believe that President Trump is waging a secret war on a secret cabal of pedophiles who control the world and that random internet people can help Trump by decoding messages left online by other anonymous people on the internet.
Since the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has deemed QAnon to be a domestic terror threat, investigators now must determine whether or not her posts qualify as potential hate crime or other criminal behavior, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Det. Gugger isn’t the only law enforcement officer under investigation for potentially having attended the pro-Trump rally.
Zelienople Borough Police Department (ZBPD) Officer Thomas Goldie is currently under investigation after of photo surfaced showing him wearing a red “Trump MAGA 2020 f—k your feelings” hat at the event, The Washington Post reported.
Zelienople Police Chief Jim Miller said he does not believe Officer Goldie participated in the Capitol riot, but that the incident is still being investigated.
Bexar County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) Lieutenant Roxanne Mathai, 46, is under investigation after she posted a Facebook video showing her draped in a Trump flag outside the Capitol during the rally, The Washington Post reported.
She said in the video that she wasn’t going to go into the U.S. Capitol like some of the other participants, according to the paper.
“All her posts show that the closest she got to the Capitol was that she was on the lawn at the time the chaos was happening inside, unbeknownst to her,” Lt. Mathai’s attorney, Hector Cortes, told The Washington Post.
Images of Lt. Mathai at the rally have been forwarded to the FBI by BCSO staff members, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar told the paper.
Residents in Troy, New Hampshire demanded that Troy Police Chief Dave Ellis resign after he said in an interview that he had attended the pro-Trump rally on Jan. 6, The Washington Post reported.
At least two Seattle police officers have been placed on administrative pending the outcome of an investigation into whether or not they participated in the Capitol riot while visiting Washington, DC last week.
The Seattle Office of Police Accountability (OPA) launched an internal investigation into the officers’ trip on Jan. 8, one day after a Seattle Police Department (SPD) employee passed along images showing the officers visiting the city on the same day the riot took place, The Seattle Times reported.
“A member of SPD notified their chain of command that photos on social media showed several two SPD officers apparently in Washington, D.C., the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol building,” Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said in a press release on Monday.
Chief Diaz said the photos were forwarded to him on the night of Jan. 7, and that he subsequently shared them with OPA Director Andrew Myerberg the same night.
“When I referred it to OPA, it was not apparent exactly where the photo was taken, or if those in the photo took any part in attacking the Capitol,” the chief noted. “I placed the identified officers on administrative leave because of the significance of what occurred in Washington, D.C.”
“When it was clear an investigation would be needed to determine if they did or did not participate in the violent events or any violations of federal law, I decided it was essential to our commitment to transparency and enhancing public trust that we share this information with the community,” Chief Diaz added.
The chief noted that both officers were off duty and were not in uniform when they visited the nation’s capital city, and said those actions alone “violates no policy or law.”
“I do not want to limit anyone’s ability to lawfully participate in First Amendment activities,” he claimed, just before he attempted to rationalize his decision to place the officers on leave without any evidence they had done anything wrong.
“The large number of people who forced their way into the Capitol, connected to the earlier political rally, presented too much of an unknown about whether any of our employees had potentially violated federal law,” Chief Diaz reasoned. “That is why I had to act.”
The chief said he asked the OPA to conduct an investigation into his officers “out of an abundance of caution” due to “the seriousness of what took place” at the Capitol.
He vowed to fire the officers in the event OPA “finds any evidence” they were “directly involved” in the rioting, and said any such findings will also be shared with federal officials.
The chief praised the SPD employee who “spoke up” after seeing the photos.
“They saw behavior they thought might violate the values of this department and they spoke up. I thank them for that,” he said.