U.S. Capitol Police suspended an officer on Monday after anti-Semitic reading material was found near a Capitol Hill security post Sunday, according to a department spokesman.
The Washington Post first reported that the document was seen in plain sight at a checkpoint by a congressional aide. It appeared from photos viewed by the Post that the text, Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion, was sitting on a table inside an entrance to the Longworth House Office Building.
Capitol Police acting Chief Yogananda Pittman on Monday ordered the officer to be suspended and the officer is expected to remain suspended pending an outcome of an investigation by the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
“We take all allegations of inappropriate behavior seriously,” Pittman said in a statement obtained by the Post. “Once this matter was brought to my attention, I immediately ordered the officer to be suspended until the Office of Professional Responsibility can thoroughly investigate.”
The officer’s suspension comes after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack raised greater concern about extremist and white supremacist ideology among law enforcement. Anti-Semitic imagery as well as racist symbols appeared alongside American flags as the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
At least one rioter stormed the Capitol donning a sweatshirt that bore the phrase “Camp Auschwitz.” Videos from that day also showed some officers taking selfies with rioters and allowing them to bypass security in some areas as they invaded the building.
A filing last week revealed that a U.S. Army reservist who took part in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack was known among colleagues for expressing white supremacist and anti-Semitic views at the naval facility where he worked as a security contractor.
According to the Post, Zach Fisch, the chief of staff to Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY), spotted and photographed the document on Sunday evening, later providing photos to the paper. Fisch later tweeted his own concerns that Capitol Police had been “indifferent to — and even accommodating of — white supremacist insurrections.”
“If the USCP is all that stands between us and the mob we saw on Jan. 6, how can we feel safe?” he added.
This is both a national security problem and a workplace safety problem.
Our office is full of people — Black, brown, Jewish, queer — who have good reason to fear white supremacists.
If the USCP is all that stands between us and the mob we saw on Jan. 6, how can we feel safe?
— Zach Fisch (@ZachFisch) March 15, 2021
The comments come amid growing pressure to address the infiltration of white supremacists and extremists among law enforcement and the military.
Last month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the nation’s military members would undertake a 60-day “stand down” as a first step to root out white supremacy in its ranks.
“We will not tolerate actions that go against the fundamental principles of the oath we share, including actions associated with extremist or dissident ideologies,” a Defense Department memo announcing the initiative said.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) also called on FBI Director Chris Wray in a letter last week requesting an agency briefing on how the problem will be addressed.
“I am deeply concerned that the bureau dismissed this threat last year and instead characterized the threat of white-supremacist infiltration of law enforcement as a hypothetical problem that has not materialized,” Raskin wrote at the time.
“I am now concerned that the Bureau lacks an adequate strategy to respond to this clear and present danger to public safety,” he added.