As I reported yesterday, the Arkansas State Police confirmed two state troopers were at the Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that ultimately led to a mob ransacking the Capitol and five deaths, including two police officers.
The agency yesterday confirmed two troopers took leave time to travel to Washington, but said:
At this time there has been no allegation of illegal activity on the part of either state troopers who may have attended the “Save America Rally” near the White House prior to a group storming the U.S. Capitol building.
The administration of the Arkansas State Police would certainly cooperate with federal authorities if evidence or allegations were made against the troopers being part of the group that illegally went beyond the security lines around the capitol
The Arkansas State Police respects the rights and freedom of an employee to use their leave time as the employee may choose.
I asked again today for names of the troopers and suggested to Col. Bill Bryant, the agency director, and Governor Hutchinson, that Arkansas citizens deserved an answer to whether the troopers had 1) acted legally at all times and 2) if, they observed illegal activities, whether they reported them. Attending a political event is protected by the First Amendment. But reports of police officers flashing credentials inside the building and the fact that anyone present could observe the breaching of the perimeter and building seemed to require more about our law officers’ participation.
The governor’s office didn’t respond to my question. I was told I’d get nothing further from the State Police today but they are working on my FOI for leave records and communications, if any, related to those troopers.
I did get some help from Tom Mars, the Rogers lawyer and former State Police director.
He had commented on the blog last night:
As a former ASP Director, I’m appalled that the ASP is not being totally transparent about the whereabouts and activities of the two State Troopers who took personal leave to go to D.C. last week. Unless they have something to hide, the Troopers themselves should be eager to explain what they were doing there and offer to submit to polygraph exams. Otherwise, the Director should require them to do so.
The citizens of Arkansas have a right to know. What’s more, the hundreds of brave and selfless men and women of the ASP don’t deserve to be tarnished by legitimate questions about whether there are dangerous seditionists among their ranks. Instead of relying on a personnel policy as an excuse for not being completely transparent, the Governor and Director Bryant should be focused on upholding the ASP’s core values, which describe what it means to proudly wear the uniform of an Arkansas State Trooper: Honor, Respect, Trust, Integrity, Duty, and Excellence.
There are dedicated, loyal State Troopers on the highway today who undoubtedly know the identity of the ASP personnel who went to D.C. last week. If those two Troopers don’t have the courage to come forward and explain themselves, I’d encourage their colleagues to do it for them. I’d also encourage Director Bryant to reconsider the implications of essentially telling the public and the rest of the Department that “it’s none of our business what those two guys did in D.C. during one of the darkest days in our country’s history.”
Mars and another reader led me to the Facebook page of one of the likely participants said to be a State Police corporal. Until I talk with her I won’t reveal her name, but she’s posted a video and a long description of her trip to the event. It’s interesting. She insists she and a friend did nothing wrong and didn’t enter the Capitol though they marched there with the crowd from the Trump speech. She said they saw people scaling the wall, tear gas being fired and more. They were outside when they heard of the death of one rioter and discovery of explosives.
Her view is that all of “her” part of the crowd were peaceful and law-abiding, but trouble was caused by organized outsiders from some unknown force. Their unsettling presence she said, was part of the reason she and her friend decided to return to their hotel (stopping first for hot wings and nachos from food trucks near a car where she believed an explosive device was found.) She’s a Trump admirer and said in the video she was told by a police officer that four busloads of Antifa were brought in to clear streets of Trump supporters (Antifa involvement has been discounted by all, including FBI.) She began her post:
To the uninformed haters who have an OPINION about Wednesday in DC:
We were there **** and I. We met a lot of very nice folks from all over the USA. They were from all professions, retired military, young, old, kids, and some were not even Trump supporters. They were there because they had watched the voting results election night and also hearings about the voter fraud as they played out. They were convinced Trump had won and that Biden had cheated. They were there because their vote had been disenfranchised. They felt betrayed with lies and cheating was not how they wanted thier President to be elected!!
She wrote in closing (unedited):
Any loss of life is tragic and sad. We don’t condone it. Nor do we condone any distruction of our capitol building. That’s not what we are about so before you blow hard fake news watching sheep get up on your soap boxes and run your mouths stop and think for a minute. You were NOT there and are you repeating the fake news OPINION as your own?Also the day was gray, cloudy windy and very cool. When you see photographs of the police and Trump supporters clashing, some show bright sunshine. Those pics are false! There was no sunshine ALL day!!!
This breach of the capitol reeks of being a planned operation by someone and the truth may never come out. Open your eyes. Smell the coffee. There is games being played before your very eyes. Wake up sheep!I am researching the manner the group pushed past us, the red flare thing and the logo on the undercover police officers shirts.More info in the comments as I find out more.