JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday included off-duty police officers.
According to Politico, a current Metro D.C. police officer said in a public Facebook post that off-duty police officers flashed their badges before entering the building.
Following the riot, News4Jax asked Steve Zona, president of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police, whether there will be scrutiny on uniformed police officers who express their views in political ads in the future?
“No. Not at all,” Zona said. “To try and link those two things together is silly.”
But News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson, who is a former Jacksonville police officer, gave a different response to the question.
“Well by their actions, this can put scrutiny on them,” Jefferson said. “Not saying that it definitely will.”
While the two men gave different answers to the question, they both agree that the actions of off-duty officers who took part in the violent political chaos affect how some people view police in general, especially people who may already have certain negative views toward law enforcement.
“It does place scrutiny on police officers everywhere, all around the country, when it appears you have police all around the country misuse the badge,” Zona said.
Jefferson said: “The fractured relationship is now a broken relationship with some groups because of these actions, and there are those who are standing by and saying, ‘I told you so, I told you so,’ and now they see it for themselves.”
Zona and Jefferson also agree that any officer who is seen in footage taking part in the chaos inside the Capitol building should be prosecuted like any other person.
Police departments across the country have opened investigations into whether any of their officers were present during the riot.