ROCKY MOUNT, Va. — Two Virginia police officers charged in connection with the storming of the U.S. Capitol in Washington earlier this month are being fired from their jobs, according to a news report.
The Roanoke Times reports that Rocky Mount Police Department sergeant Thomas “T.J.” Robertson received a letter from the city citing “conduct unbecoming an officer” as the reason for his firing. The letter states he will be terminated Tuesday.
Robertson said fellow officer Jacob Fracker is also being terminated. Robertson said the town was giving the officers the chance to resign before being fired, but that he refuses to do so and will fight his termination.
“Lol to anyone who’s possibly concerned about the picture of me going around ... Not like I did anything illegal,” the Guardsman said in a social media post.
Town Manager James Ervin declined to comment on Robertson’s statements Saturday but said the officers had been suspended without pay on Friday.
Federal authorities have charged Robertson, 47, and Fracker, 29, with a misdemeanor offense of knowingly entering a restricted building without authority to do so to engage in conduct that disrupts government business. They also face a petty offense of engaging in disruptive conduct in the Capitol in order to interfere with a session of Congress.
Experts in homegrown extremism have warned for years about efforts by far-right militants and white-supremacist groups to radicalize and recruit people with military and law enforcement training.
The maximum penalty for the misdemeanor is a year in jail. The maximum penalty for the petty offense is six months.
The officers have repeatedly said that they did nothing illegal and did not participate in any of the violence that unfolded on Jan. 6.
Fracker, who is also a corporal in the Virginia Army National Guard, was the first active serviceman known to have been charged in connection to the riot, according the Army Times. Robertson previously served as a military policeman in the Army Reserve.
Inside the Capitol rotunda, Garcia was heard saying “Nancy come out and play,” a reference to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
A photo that Fracker and Robertson took of themselves in the Capitol Crypt has circulated widely online. Robertson has said they posed for the photo after a fellow Rocky Mount officer asked about their well-being.