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‘Front of the pack’: Off-duty Pa. officer charged at police during the Capitol riot,

Fischer, a patrolman with the North Cornwall Township Police Department, is charged with obstructing law enforcement during “civil disorder” and accused of aiding the insurrection that resulted in the deaths of one police officer and four others and left many people wounded. More than a dozen off-duty members of law enforcement officers are suspected of participating in the Jan. 6 riot, raising uncomfortable questions for chiefs and departments around the country. But the allegations against Fischer stand out for how directly they pit him against members of his own profession.

The Washington Post could not reach Fischer on Saturday, and it was not immediately clear whether he has a lawyer.

North Cornwall Township and its police department did not respond to inquiries, but the small community east of Harrisburg said in a statement to local news station WGAL that a member of its police force was “immediately suspended without pay” pending the outcome of charges stemming from the riot.

“While every citizen accused of a crime must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, the Township, its elected officials, its police officers, and its employees wish to make clear that the United States of America is a government of laws which we are sworn to uphold,” the township said in its statement.

Trump supporters overtook Capitol Police officers to enter the building as lawmakers attempted to count the electoral college votes on Jan. 6. (Amber Ferguson/The Washington Post)

The township said none of its officials had “any knowledge” of the employee’s actions before his arrest Friday, according to WGAL. But the FBI said that, in Facebook messages sent the day after the riot, Fischer recalled defending his actions to his chief.

“Did your job say something to you?” another Facebook user asked Fischer on Jan. 7, according to charging documents.

“Yep … chief did,” Fischer reportedly replied. “I told him if that is the price I have to pay to voice my freedom and liberties which I was born with and thusly taken away then then must be the price.”

“I told him I have no regrets,” he reportedly said.

Earlier Fischer declared that he “may need a job,” according to the FBI, adding, “Word got out that I was at the rally..lol.” Fischer allegedly said the FBI might arrest him — “lol,” he added again — and claimed the agency was “targeting police who went.”

In the weeks after the insurrection, police have been investigating, punishing and flagging their own to federal law enforcement, breaking from the notorious “blue wall of silence” that critics point to as a major barrier to police holding their colleagues accountable.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told The Post earlier this year that he had accepted the resignation of an 18-year member of the force because of the man’s involvement in the Jan. 6 riot.

“We are making clear that they have First Amendment rights like all Americans,” he said. “However, engaging in activity that crosses the line into criminal conduct will not be tolerated.”

The first officers to face federal charges in connection with the short-lived Capitol insurrection were Rocky Mount, Va., officers Thomas Robertson and Jacob Fracker, who are accused of offenses including “violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.” Both have pleaded not guilty and said they did not participate in any violence.

Like Robertson and Fracker, the FBI says, Fischer left a social media trail for investigators.

A few days after the riot, an agent said, the FBI was told that a Facebook user by the name of “SV Spindrift” had “bragged” about storming the Capitol building and posted a video of himself at the front of a crowd pushing police. The video was removed.

D.C. acting police chief Robert J. Contee III on Jan. 11 spoke emotionally about the officers which were injured during a pro-Trump mob’s attack on the Capitol. (D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser)

Examining SV Spindrift’s…

Read More: ‘Front of the pack’: Off-duty Pa. officer charged at police during the Capitol riot,

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