After an investigation by the FBI and the Houston Police Department, it was determined that Veteran Officer Tam Pham participated in a fatal violation at the US Capitol this month, his departure from the department was swift.
He was placed on administrative leave and with the resignation there was no pushback from the group, which would usually advocate on behalf of an officer accused of wrongdoing.
The Houston Police Officers Union has fiercely defended its officers, even in cases that called the officer in question – one last year when officers shot and killed a man over mental health issues Was on her knees.
The union president at the time called the four officers’ firing in September “unjust and humiliating” and said the organization would represent them at their arbitration hearing.
The union’s response to Pham’s case facing two federal misdemeanor charges related to Cap’s admission is clearly different.
Whoever dissolves the Capitol “must be charged and receive whatever punishment is awarded,” Douglas Griffith, now president of the Union. “Doesn’t matter if they are police officers or not.”
Pham has not yet entered a plea. His lawyer said that Fame is “deeply saddened to be associated with domestic terrorists who attacked our capitol” and “strongly believes in the rule of law.”
Griffith said what is different from the accusations of Fame that other officials have faced in unrelated incidents is that the Capitol riot was “an attack on our democracy” that led to the death of one officer and serious injuries to others. Five people, including a Capitol police officer, were killed in incidents related to the attack.
Griffith said in an interview, “As an officer, I would expect, if I saw some officers attacked, I would step in between them.” “I will not participate in that kind of activity.”
Police departments in New York City, Seattle and Virginia are investigating whether their officers participated in the Trump supporter riot. Police unions have faced the dilemma as to whether to defend the participating officers as they do.
For example in Chicago, the union president initially defended the crowd before backing. And in Seattle, the union is under major administrative scrutiny because it claimed that Black Lives Matter was responsible.
Kalfani Ture, a former police officer in Georgia who is an assistant professor of criminal justice and policing at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, said the growing number of suspected police officers participating in the riot creates an interesting contradiction. Police unions, which have largely avoided bad police accountability.
“When we see an officer losing his life, when we see other officers injured, when you see these figures attacking other police officers, how do you justify it?” Ture asked.
Ture said police unions are breaking up on their own due to the death of a Capitol police officer and injuries sustained by dozens of other officers.
“If it wasn’t for optics, if it wasn’t for loss of life, if it wasn’t for the 50 police officers, both Capitol police officers and the Metropolitan Police, being injured – seriously injured – to this extent That he was removed from duty, if it were not for all of them, I would not be surprised if the various police unions said: “No, there were actually injuries. It was a practice of his First Amendment rights that essentially went out. Of hand. “
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John Catanzara, president of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, initially drove the crowd into the Capitol at the behest of President Donald Trump.
“There was no arson. There was no burning of anything. There was no looting. There was very little destruction of property,” Katzenara told WBEZ, Chicago’s main public radio station, in an interview on a January evening. 6. “A bunch of people experiencing this election were stolen, somehow, some way.”
Photographs and video of the incident show that rioters overwhelmingly beat police, smashed Capitol’s windows, overturned tables and vandalized offices. President Zachary Taylor’s 19th-century marble heap was shown covered in blood. Pepper sprays, tear gas and fire extinguishers – deployed by both rioters and law enforcement officials – were also evident later.
Trump’s staunch supporter, Katznara, told WBEZ that he believed, because Trump has repeatedly made false claims, that the election was stolen, but admitted there was no evidence. Katznara said that what the rioters did was “very different from what happened in summer in the Democratic-run cities across the country, and no one had a problem with it.”
After announcing that the Capitol police officer had died, Katzenara apologized, stating that he had shown “a lapse in judgment” in the WBEZ interview.
“I certainly will not justify any attack on citizens, democracy or law enforcement,” he wrote in a statement posted on Facebook.
He did not mention the officer’s death, but said he was sorry and said that “after watching more videos and full results, my comment will be different.” Katzenara, who is facing calls for resignation, declined a request for an interview, but he told NBC News on Thursday that he does not plan to step down.
His comments drew harsh criticism from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and National Fraternal Order of Police President Patrick Yose, who said that Katzenara’s comments did not represent the opinions of its 356,000 members.
“There is no question that, apart from the tragic loss of life, these criminals are the heart of our democracy and have threatened our elected officials, congressional staff as well as our brother and sister for a wide range of damage to the building Has died. ” Officers, “Yoss said in a forceful statement that mentioned Officer Brian Siknik, who died after being hit in the head by a rioter by hitting a fire extinguisher.
“The National FOP rejects this gross misconduct and sees the incident for what it was – a violent mob of robbers and wanderers, fear and destruction visiting one of our nation’s holiest places,” Yoss wrote .
Seattle Police Officers Guild President Officer Mike Solan faced mounting calls for his resignation From Union and Police Department He later falsely suggested that Black Lives Matter activists played a role in violence in the Capitol. At least five Seattle police officers are being investigated for possible involvement.
Mayor Jenny Durkan and former police chief Carmen Best have asked Solon to withdraw his words and apologize or resign. Solan did not respond to requests for comment.
Seattle’s Police Accountability Office is investigating Solan’s tweets, including one on Jan. 8 saying “The far right and left are responsible for that right day,” to determine if they violated the department’s policy.
The New York City Police Benevolent Association has described the riot as a “disgusting attack”, with an unknown officer accused of participating.
Jack Glaeser, a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, said that Trump supporter rioters “have mostly disarmed most of these groups, which is not really about law and order, but more About racial hygiene. “
The union, which represents about 24,000 rank-and-file officials, supported Trump for re-election last year. The union did not return multiple requests for comment.
Glaeser said he suspected that the rioters “violated basic democratic principles enough that the unions felt they could return.”
“I think what we are seeing here is that violence from the rioters, from the rebels, in the name of a thin blue line – some of them carrying the modified American flag with blue lines – I Sounds like it was a crime for policing professionals and what was seen as a supportive coalition, ”said Glaeser. “It really took away the pretense of those symbols.”
Ture agreed, citing the “profoundly great” contradiction between law enforcement and espionage support for action at the Capitol.
He said the Confederates defending the officers involved in the attack struggled to separate themselves from images of people bearing Confederate flags and other racist insignia associated with white supremacists.
“If you had participated in this campaign,” he said referring to the attack, “you cannot easily separate yourself from this type of bigoted prejudice, that evil terrorism.”