Two SEPTA police sergeants disciplined for posts about Capitol riots

Tear gas is released into a crowd of protesters, with one wielding a Confederate battle flag that reads "Come and Take It," during clashes with Capitol police at a rally on Jan. 6.
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Two SEPTA transit police sergeants who traveled to Washington, D.C, Jan. 6 to participate in election-related protests have been suspended for social media posts that allegedly showed support for rioters who stormed the Capitol Building.

A total of seven transit officers participated in demonstrations that day, when lawmakers were planning to certify Joe Biden’s victory. Members of Congress were forced to seek shelter, and five people died as a result of the attack.

However, an internal SEPTA probe found that none of the officers entered the Capitol Building or broke the law in any way.

The sergeants who were disciplined took to social media after the violence and expressed views that “could be interpreted as supporting the actions of rioters,” the authority said in a statement. They will be suspended without pay for three days.

SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch said the pair violated a policy that forbids transit police from condoning illegal activity.

Officials did not release the names of the sergeants. Busch said a collective bargaining agreement prohibits SEPTA from identifying disciplined officers unless they are fired.

The Police Board of Inquiry found that the sergeants “acted irresponsible and displayed poor judgement,” SEPTA said. Busch said they will have an opportunity to appeal the ruling.

No action will be taken against the other five officers, as investigators did not find evidence of illegal activity or problematic posts, Busch said.

SEPTA officials said they are working with community groups and experts to strengthen the relationship between the transit police department and residents.

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