Associated Press: The Oakland Police Department has opened an investigation into allegations that its officers endorsed or participated on social media accounts that contain objectionable content about the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“Whether on or off duty, employees of OPD are prohibited from affiliating with subversive groups, and they are prohibited from doing anything that brings disrepute to the Department and erodes the public’s trust,” the department said in a statement Friday.
The probe followed an interview with a former Oakland police officer who marched to the Capitol on Wednesday and defended the actions of the pro-Trump loyalists who forced their way into the building as members of Congress were meeting to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Jurell Snyder, who was an Oakland officer from 2006 to 2015, repeated false claims about election fraud and told the station that Democrats should be criminally charged for treason. The online news site Oaklandside said former and current Oakland police officers “liked” Snyder’s Facebook posts about the storming of the Capitol.
New: Wrote about how, through so many acts of right-wing terror or insurrection, local cops wind up cooperating with the mob. At least three cops this week were outed as having been with the Capitol mob Wednesday, and more have voiced support online: https://t.co/Js0HMsyBtG— Jerry Iannelli (@jerryiannelli) January 8, 2021
The department condemned Snyder’s remarks and warned that any current employee making such statements would face a disciplinary investigation that could lead to termination.
“OPD will not allow any members to engage in or support this type of content and will root out this conduct,” the statement said. “Hate speech and offensive conduct will not be tolerated; there are clear policies and guidelines that govern this behavior.”
The Appeal: Worse yet, on Wednesday, New York magazine reported that David Ellis, the current police chief in Troy, New Hampshire, attended the day’s events, though it’s unclear if he directly took part in the siege on the Capitol. And, late Thursday night, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, which oversees San Antonio, Texas, announced that Lt. Roxanne Mathai is under investigation both internally and criminally for posting photographs on Facebook from the riot.
Sheriff Javier Salazar told reporters Thursday that his office had forwarded the images to the FBI. San Antonio news station KSAT reported that Mathai has been on administrative leave since October due to allegations that she’d had an inappropriate relationship with an incarcerated person.
Not to be outdone, other cops announced their support for the siege on the internet. On Thursday, Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff Mark Lamb posted a video on Facebook in which he expressed support for the rioters and said he doesn’t “know how loud we have to get before they start to listen to us.” He has since deleted the video.
Likewise, in an interview with Chicago NPR affiliate WBEZ, John Catanzara, head of the city’s Fraternal Order of Police union lodge, expressed support for the mob and spouted debunked conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election.