Pa. cop charged in siege on US Capitol
The officer had posted about his participation through videos on social media, officials reported
By Sam Wood
The Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA — A police officer from Pennsylvania who was arrested Friday for participating in the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol bragged on social media that he had been “pepper balled and OC sprayed, but entry into the Capital (sic) was needed to send a message that we the people hold the real power,” according to federal charging documents.
The day after the insurrection, during or after which five people died, including a Capitol Police officer, Joseph Wayne Fischer posted he “may need a job ... lol,” say the documents supporting his arrest.
Fischer, 55, was suspended without pay Friday from his position as a patrolman with the North Cornwall Township Police Department in Lebanon County. According to ABC27 of Harrisburg, he was being held Friday night in the Dauphin County prison and has a detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday.
Fischer allegedly documented his role in the attack in numerous Facebook videos, photos, and text posts.
In a nearly three-minute video, Fischer allegedly recorded himself entering the Capitol. According to the charging documents, the video was accompanied with the text “Made it inside.”
About halfway through the video, Fischer appears to yell “Charge!” according to the court affidavit.
“The recorder (Fischer) started charging towards a line of police officers while appearing to shout “Hold the Line” and Motherf—s,” according to the affidavit. Fischer appeared to have at least one physical encounter with a Capitol police officer, it says. During that scuffle, the document alleges, Fischer said, “I am a cop. I am a cop, too.”
The affidavit also says that Fischer later commented that “it was mostly peaceful ... a few became destructive. Not near as bad as media was making it out,” and that he boasted, “hell I was inside the capital [sic] talking to police.”
The day after the siege, Fischer bragged to a friend that his chief knew he had participated.
“I told him I have no regrets ...,” according to the charging documents.
The attack came shortly after a rally held by Donald Trump during which the soon-to-be former president egged on the crowd to march on the Capitol as certification proceedings for the presidential election were underway.
The mob breached the Capitol about 2 p.m., forcing entry by breaking windows and attacking members of the vastly outmanned U.S. Capitol Police.
Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate fled their chambers along with Vice President Mike Pence.
The invading horde allegedly had intended to kill or otherwise injure key members of Congress and Pence.
On Friday, the Department of Justice charged Fischer with obstructing a law enforcement officer, entering a restricted property without lawful authority, attempting to disrupt government business, disorderly conduct, and making threats intended to disrupt a session of Congress, among numerous other charges.
In a statement released late Friday, the North Cornwall Police Department issued a statement saying “no township official had any knowledge of this individual’s action prior to his arrest.
“The Township recognizes every citizen’s right to free speech; however, each citizen must also be accountable for his or her actions,” the statement continued. “Accordingly, as required by the Pennsylvania Confidence in Law Enforcement Act, the police officer was immediately suspended without pay pending the disposition of these charges.”
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