SEPTA police investigating 7 officers who attended Trump rally that preceded Capitol riot

Pro-Trump insurrectionists climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol

Pro-Trump insurrectionists climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

SEPTA Transit Police is actively investigating seven officers who attended a rally organized by President Donald Trump supporters in Washington D.C. last week that ended with the storming of the United States Capitol Building.

“They are being investigated to see if they were involved in riotous behavior or for violations of our social media policies,” said SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel on Tuesday.

What started as a rally organized to pressure Congress into overturning the results of the 2020 election over baseless voter fraud claims ended with five deaths, including the killing of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.

Nestel said the department received information last Thursday about one officer who attended Trump’s “Save America Rally” rally. After investigating, officials later independently discovered six others from the department, which has 260 sworn officers, had also attended. Nestel indicated that the transit agency would share the results of the investigation with the FBI.

The police chief did not disclose the name or rank of any officers. He said the investigation was now determining whether any of the seven had “entered any area where a police line was established prohibiting entry.”

“There are seven that we know of. It’s still being investigated,” Nestel said. “We’re very concerned. It’s pretty clear that a riot occurred and that there was an attempt to overthrow our government and we want to make sure our members weren’t a part of that.”

A spokesperson for SEPTA confirmed the details and referred additional questions to Nestel.

Troy Parham, vice president of the Fraternal Order of Transit Police Lodge 109, which represents SEPTA police officers, said the union doesn’t know anything more than the fact that the seven officers attended the pro-Trump rally.

“I don’t believe any of them attended in any illegal activity,” Parham said. “They went to see the president speak. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The Philadelphia Police Department disclosed this week that a detective that attended the rally had been reassigned from the force’s recruitment unit after it came to light from social media posts that she too had attended the Trump rally.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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