Seven Philadelphia transit police officers are under investigation for attending President Trump’s rally in Washington, D.C., last week, officials said Tuesday. The investigation into the officers, who are part of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), will examine if they were involved in any illegal behavior.
Mr. Trump’s rally on Wednesday led to a violent mob attacking and entering the U.S. Capitol, where pro-Trump rioters caused the electoral vote count to be delayed and forced members of Congress and their staff for hours. At least five people died — including two officers with the Capitol Police — and at least three House lawmakers have tested positive for COVID-19 after the Capitol siege. Mr. Trump is also facing a second impeachment, a first in U.S. history, due to the riot.
“[The officers] are being investigated to see if they were involved in riotous behavior or for violations of our social media policies,” SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel said, according to CBS Philly.
The station said that there was a tip that a SEPTA employee was at the rally, and the investigation revealed several more officers who were in attendance. SEPTA is looking into whether the employees were part of the mob that breached the U.S. Capitol.
SEPTA said any information about the investigation will be shared with the FBI and that the seven officers will remain on the force amid the probe.
Meanwhile, Justice Department officials told reporters in a briefing earlier Tuesday that federal investigators have opened more than 170 cases in relation to the insurrection at the Capitol, and rioters could face charges of sedition and conspiracy.
“We’re looking at significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy,” said Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. “People are going to be shocked at some of the egregious conduct that happened within the Capitol.”
Sherwin told reporters that he expects “hundreds” more cases to be opened by the end of the investigation. Sherwin and Steven D’Antuono, the head of the FBI’s Washington field office, indicated that the investigation into these events would be massive, spanning the country.
Kris Van Cleave contributed to this report.
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