A Capitol police officer who was suspended after footage of him wearing a Make America Great Again hat went viral said he was wearing the pro-Donald Trump merch as part of a plan to help trapped members of the Capitol Police.
Lt. Tarik Johnson’s fellow officers claim he used the hat to gain the trust of rioters, so that he might seek their help in getting other policemen out of the besieged Capitol building. Video shared by the Wall Street Journal seems to bear out this version of events.
In the footage, Johnson is seen talking to members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right anti-government militia. While wearing the hat, he explains to the men that his fellow officers are trapped inside and hands one of the Oath Keepers his bullhorn. The militiamen help him clear a path up the Capitol steps and he exits shortly after entering the building with other police in tow.
According to WSJ’s report, Johnson’s fellow officers said he asked for approval of the plan but failed to get a response. Johnson is one of three officers who were suspended in the aftermath of the riots.
The U.S. Capitol Police said they are “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” in a statement to The Hill.
“Several USCP officers have already been suspended pending the outcome of their investigations,” they added.