Black Capitol officer in MAGA hat says hat was a ruse

Tarik Khalid Johnson was suspended days after the riot

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A Black Capitol Police officer who was seen in photos and footage wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat during the violent riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 said he wore the hat in an effort to rescue his colleagues.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the officer, identified as Lt. Tarik Khalid Johnson was suspended days later. Johnson says that the images weren’t what they seemed. His decision to wear the red MAGA hat was an attempt to earn the trust of rioters.

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The images reportedly outraged members of Congress and the public, and he is one of three officers who were suspended.

A witness said that Johnson’s ruse enabled a set of doors to the Capitol to be closed and permanently prevented further entry from other rioters.

In a video, Johnson can be heard speaking to members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right anti-government militia, asking for their help to extract officers who are trapped in the building. Johnson can be seen passing his bullhorn to one of the members who then trailed him to one of the entrances.

Johnson was later seen exiting the building with 16 officers who donned body armor and riot gear.

According to U.S. Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, who leads the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Capitol Police department, interim Police Chief Yogananda Pittman determined that wearing a “MAGA” hat “was qualifying for immediate suspension” as it violates their policies.

Read More: Congress warned of Capitol riots days before siege

In a statement to The Hill, the U.S. Capitol Police Department said they’re “actively reviewing video and other open source materials of some USCP officers and officials that appear to be in violation of Department regulations and policies. Our Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating these behaviors for disciplinary action, up to, and including, termination.”   

They added that, “Several USCP officers have already been suspended pending the outcome of their investigations.” 

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