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Town places officers on leave over DC rally

ROCKY MOUNT (AP) A Virginia town put two officers on leave after they went off-duty to events in Washington that led to a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The town of Rocky Mount issued a statement Jan. 10 saying that two off-duty officers from the Rocky Mount Police Department were at what town officials called the “event” in Washington on Jan. 6, in an apparent reference to a rally by Trump supporters that turned violent.

“The Town of Rocky Mount fully supports all lawful expressions of freedom of speech and assembly by its employees but does not condone the unlawful acts that occurred that day,” a town statement said.

The statement said that the Rocky Mount Police Department has put the two officers on administrative leave and notified federal authorities that the two officers attended the events.

At the rally near the White House, Trump repeated bogus election grievances and urged his supporters to march toward the Capitol. An angry and violent mob of his supporters then overpowered police and rampaged through the Capitol. Five people including a Capitol Police officer and a Trump supporter were killed in the chaos.

Town Manager James Ervin didn’t immediately respond to an email asking for more information on what the town’s officers did in Washington or whether they entered the Capitol. A police department spokeswoman said in an email that the town news release includes all the information she could release Jan. 10.

A photo of the two officers inside the U.S. Capitol was posted on social media, according to WSLS-TV. The station reported one of the officers taunted the Franklin County commonwealth’s attorney and others in a Facebook post responding to criticism. One of the officers said he had done nothing wrong and opposed the violence of others in the Capitol, The Roanoke Times reported.

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