Almost 1 in 5 people charged for Capitol riots served in military

Of over 140 people charged, at least 27 have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military — including some police officers.

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Ongoing investigations have shown that more than one in five of the people currently charged for their involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has served in the military. 

NPR conducted an analysis of arrest records and compiled a list of people facing charges by either the federal government or the District of Columbia. Their review reveals that of more than 140 people charged, at least 27, or roughly 20 percent, have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military. 

Rocky Mount Police Officer Jacob Fracker (left) and Sergeant Thomas Robertson, who face charges for their roles in the Jan. 6 Capitol siege, were placed on administrative leave after their arrests. They have histories in the Marine Corps and Army respectively.

The report notes that for perspective, only nearly 7 percent of American adults are military veterans, according to the U.S. Census. 

The most frequent charges to be filed as result of the insurrection are violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

A seven-page legal sidebar from The Congressional Research Service released on Jan. 12 details potential charges that could come from the attempted siege, ranging from several crimes involving federal property, including one of the most frequently charged: Unlawful activities on Capitol grounds and in Capitol buildings. That multi-leveled offense carries a prison term of up to five years. 

Read More: At least 20 Capitol police officers test positive for COVID-19 after riot

An example of military-folk Capitol insurrection participants cited in the report is Jacob Fracker, 29, and his fellow officer from the Rocky Mount Police Department, Thomas Robertson, 47. According to the Pentagon, Fracker was an infantry rifleman in the Marine Corps deployed to Afghanistan two times and is currently in the Virginia National Guard. Robertson is a veteran of the U.S. Army.

As previously reported by theGrio, Fracker and Robertson were photographed inside the Capitol building in front of a Gen. John Stark statue. In the photos, one was seen pointing while the other was making an obscene gesture. Robertson shared the photo on his personal Facebook page, where he wrote that he was “proud” of the picture because it showed he and Fracker were “willing to put skin in the game,” according to the complaint and CBS News.

Read More: Houston police veteran lied about entering Capitol, feds say

Other former servicemen facing charges stemming from the Capitol storming are Navy veteran Thomas Edward Caldwell, who is supposedly a leader of the right-wing extremist Oath Keepers; Donovan Ray Crowl, a veteran of the Marine Corps, and Larry Rendall Brock Jr., an Air Force vet who federal prosecutors allege posted on Facebook about an impending “Second Civil War” before the attack.

Security protocols with clearances were tightened as National Guard members were vetted in advance of Wednesday’s inauguration of President Joe Biden

Retired four-star Army Gen. Lloyd Austin III, the brand-new head of the Department of Defense and first Black named to the position, spoke on the issue of extremism in military ranks at his successful Senate confirmation. 

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He noted that he was a lieutenant colonel when an investigation discovered that 22 soldiers at Fort Bragg were linked to extremist groups in 1995. As previously reported, Austin said the military “discovered that the signs for that activity were there all along. We just didn’t know what to look for or what to pay attention to. But we learned from that.”

“The job of the Department of Defense is to keep America safe from our enemies,” Austin asserted. “But we can’t do that if some of those enemies lie within our own ranks.”

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