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Houston Police Officer Likely Under Federal Investigation For Involvement In D.C. Insurrection

Houston Police Cadets
David J. Phillip/AP
Houston Police cadets wear masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic while taking a class photo during a graduation ceremony at the Houston Police Academy, Friday, May 1, 2020, in Houston.

A Houston police officer is under investigation after possibly taking part in the U.S. Capitol insurrection last week, Chief Art Acevedo said Wednesday.

The unidentified patrol officer, an 18-year HPD veteran, has been relieved of duty and will likely face federal charges after allegedly entering the Capitol building Wednesday alongside other pro-Trump extremists, Acevedo said. He added that the man likely traveled to Washington alone.

The chief said he would hold a disiplinary hearing with the officer in question on Friday.

“There’s a high probability this individual will be charged with federal charges, and rightfully so,” he said. “I’d be surprised if they show up Friday to my hearing.”

The chief said he received a complaint Sunday, after photos surfaced allegedly showing the officer inside the Capitol with his face concealed, holding a Donald Trump flag.

The news came during a press conference in which Acevedo revealed that the department was on “modified tactical alert” with officers deployed at government buildings through at least Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. He called the region a hotbed for militias and hate groups, but added that there was no specific threat in Houston.

The unidentified officer was one several people from Houston known to have traveled to the Capitol last week, Acevedo said, though he did not provide an exact number.

It’s one of at least 26 people from law enforcement agencies across the country found to have been involved with the riot, according to the Appeal.

“There is no excuse for criminal activity, especially from a police officer,” Acevedo said. “I can't tell you the anger I feel at the thought of a police officer and other police officers thinking they get to go storm the capitol.”

Additional reporting by Paul DeBenedetto.