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Baltimore-area police agencies investigate whether employees rioted at Capitol; Anne Arundel officer suspended

At least one police officer from the Baltimore region was suspended over possible involvement in last week’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, as local law enforcement agencies continue to investigate officers’ potential involvement.

The Anne Arundel officer will be suspended with pay while the police department’s Office of Professional Standards and federal authorities review the officer’s involvement and determine whether any laws or agency policies were violated, the department said Monday.

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“The Anne Arundel County Police Department is committed to the highest level of ethical standards by its sworn and civilian members, whether on or off duty. The Anne Arundel County Police Department also supports all lawful expressions of freedom of speech and assembly,” the department said in a statement.

Department officials declined to provide more information, stating the investigation is “a personnel matter.”

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So far, Anne Arundel County is the only department in the region to identify an officer who may have been involved in the deadly Wednesday siege on the Capitol, when rioters broke into the building following a rally by President Donald Trump. At least two departments said they were reviewing photos and videos from the insurrection to potentially identify any officers who may have participated; other departments said they had not been advised of any participation by their officers.

Dozens of people were arrested the day of the riot, but in the days since federal and local authorities have continued to make arrests.

Two police officers with the Rocky Mount, Virginia, police department were placed on administrative leave pending an investigation after the town discovered they attended the riot. Among others, Seattle’s police department placed two officers on administrative leave as they investigate the officers’ potential role in the chaos.

Baltimore Police spokeswoman Lindsey Eldridge said the department’s Public Integrity Unit reviewed photos and videos posted by local and federal authorities to try to identify any employees who may have participated in the attack.

“The department has not identified any officers involved in criminal activity following the riots,” Eldridge said in an interview. “The department also will most likely not identify any officers who decided to protest that day in expressing their First Amendment rights. Baltimore police believe their officers have a right to protest under the Constitution as long as they are not involved in criminal activity.”

The Maryland State Police are investigating as well, according to a Tweet from Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan.

“A review has been conducted of photos of individuals being sought. No Maryland State Police personnel have been identified,” he wrote. Neither the Internal Affairs division nor individual barracks have received any complaints, he said. If a complaint of criminal activity is borne out by evidence, “the individual could face both criminal and administrative charges.”

Baltimore County Police Department spokesperson Officer D.J. Moore and Howard County Police Department spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said no one has been identified in their agencies.

Harford County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Cristie Hopkins said the department is “not familiar” with any participation in the siege but said that the agency is not “proactively surveilling” employees’ social media because it’s not something they do unless there is a specific allegation.

“There is no doubt that those who committed crimes that day will be identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and should there be any ties to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, our federal partners will be sure to communicate with the HCSO so we can appropriately respond,” Hopkins said in a statement.

However, Hopkins said if an employee was caught participating in the siege, it would violate the agency’s policy and the individual would be subject to disciplinary action and potential termination.

Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees said he has not received any complaints or heard about misconduct or criminal activity by any of his employees. Westminster Police Department Chief Thomas Ledwell, Sykesville Police Department Michael A. Spaulding, and Manchester Police Department Chief John Hess also said they have no reason to believe any employee was involved.

The Aberdeen, Havre de Grace and Bel Air police departments all said they did not find any of their employees to have participated in the storming of the Capitol.

Baltimore Sun Media reporters Bob Blubaugh, Ana Faguy, Phillip Jackson, Jacob Calvin Meyer, Lilly Price and James Whitlow contributed to this article.

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