The events on January 6, 2021, at the United States Capitol were very concerning on many levels. The whole world observed individuals and law enforcement clash on the very steps of democracy. I was saddened as I watched the events unfold on television.
As Sheriff, I became extremely concerned when my command staff informed me two Charles County corrections officers were at the Capitol and that there was video of them circulating on social media. I viewed the video, which showed the officers at the Capitol while an unidentified person—who was later determined not to be affiliated with the employees—pushed in a window of the Capitol. I moved to launch an immediate administrative investigation, suspended the officers, and issued a press release to inform the Charles County community.
Subsequently, investigators from the Agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) contacted the United States Capitol Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). These federal law enforcement agencies were provided with the video footage as well as information regarding the corrections officers. After several weeks, our investigators reached out to the FBI who indicated no criminal charges had been filed against the officers. Further, the agencies offered no additional information or timeline regarding the status of their investigation or its disposition.
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office, United States Capitol Police, and FBI are working collectively to determine and corroborate the corrections officers’ involvement in this case. Pending the outcome of the investigations, and considering the rights afforded to the officers by law, they were reinstated.
It is important to understand the administrative and criminal investigations will remain open pending the conclusion of the investigations. If at any time information is developed that contradicts what we know now, the officers’ employment status could be modified and the allegations will be immediately addressed.
I am committed to conducting a thorough, fair, and complete investigation, and remain committed to transparency. Enhancing public trust is a responsibility I take to heart and it is of the utmost importance to me.
Sheriff Troy D. Berry