ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — An Anne Arundel County police officer has been cleared of any wrongdoing in connection to the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol and is back on the job — while a prominent civil rights leader is calling for more transparency from county leaders and police.
The officer had been suspended with pay since Jan. 11 while the matter was under investigation.READ MORE: UMD Doctoral Candidate, Anat Kimchi, Stabbed To Death In Downtown Chicago
Anne Arundel County police wrote in a statement, “The department’s Office of Professional Standards, in cooperation with federal authorities, conducted an internal investigation and determined there were no violations of agency policies or applicable laws. The officer has been returned to a full duty status.”
Civil rights activist Carl Snowden criticized the decision.
“I think people need to know who he was and why he was at this particular rally,” said Snowden of the Caucus of African American Leaders.
The department never identified the officer. Snowden believes there should be more transparency given the seriousness of what happened on Jan. 6.
“There’s been a long-running dispute between police and the community. It’s always around the issue of transparency and honesty. We have had police departments in the past not reveal certain abuses that have taken place that later came to light,” Snowden said. “They’ve called it a personnel matter. The reality is, it’s not a personnel matter. It’s a political matter.”READ MORE: Milestones In Maryland's Covid-19 Fight: No Deaths Reported In 2 Days, Less Than 50 New Cases
The police union president tells WJZ the officer was in Washington, DC with family but was “completely unaware there was any move to attack the Capitol,” he added. “From the very beginning it was clear the officer did nothing wrong.”
Julie Janofsky is a lawyer concentrating in employment law. She said the standards are different for unionized, public sector employees.
“Employees who work for government agencies such as the police cannot be fired if they peacefully exercise their first amendment rights — the emphasis being on peacefully. But most employees in Maryland do not have any such rights,” Janofsky said.
Police wrote in their initial Jan. 11 statement on the suspension, “The Anne Arundel County Police Department is committed to the highest level of ethical standards by its sworn and civilian members, whether on or off duty. The Anne Arundel County Police Department also supports all lawful expressions of freedom of speech and assembly.”
Snowden says he plans to meet with the county executive about the issue Wednesday.MORE NEWS: Violence In Baltimore City Continues To Outpace 2020 Numbers, Governor Hogan Reacts
Nationwide, at least ten current and former police officers are facing charges connected to the attack on the Capitol.