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A Philadelphia police detective is being investigated for allegedly attending the “Stop the Steal” rally ahead of Wednesday’s deadly US Capitol riot, department officials said.
Det. Jennifer Gugger, who was assigned to a unit that looks into the backgrounds of potential recruits, was removed from her role Saturday after internal affairs investigators received Facebook posts indicating her presence at the protest, department sources told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The tip didn’t include evidence that Gugger was inside the Capitol or took part in the ensuing violence that led to five deaths, the newspaper reported.
But Gugger, while using the name Jenny Lynn on Facebook, posted photos of the Washington Monument and a small crowd across the street, the Inquirer reported, citing the detective’s since-deleted post.
“#StopTheSteal Drinking beers with fellow patriots!” the detective wrote.
Gugger’s Facebook profile had recently shown her support of the QAnon conspiracy movement, according to the report. Her profile claimed in late October that the “storm has arrived,” an apparent reference to Trump and his followers overthrowing the secret global political faction working against him.
The friends who Gugger tagged in her Facebook post about the rally later added videos of the growing crowd outside the Capitol – with one person saying they were near the building’s steps as rioters breached the building, the Inquirer reported.
Gugger could not be reached for comment Sunday but a police spokesman told the newspaper an investigation was underway.
“The allegation was that she was at the event,” Sgt. Eric Gripp, a police spokesman, told the Inquirer. “Due to what unfolded at the event, we have opened an Internal Affairs investigation to see precisely what, if any, participation she had in it.”
Gripp declined to identify the officer in a statement released to The Post.
“An IAB investigation has been opened to determine if any PPD polices were violated by the detective, and if they participated in any illegal activities while in attendance,” the statement read. “The detective’s assignment has been changed pending the outcome of the investigation.”
The detective had not been charged with any crime or violating department policy as of midday Monday, a second police source told The Post.
Five people died as a result of Wednesday siege, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who passed away at a hospital Thursday after being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, two law enforcement sources told the Associated Press.
A second Capitol Police officer, Howard Liebengood, 51, died on Saturday while off-duty, department officials said. Sources close to the matter said Liebengood committed suicide days after responding to the riot, but it’s unclear what led him to take his own life.
At least 90 people as of early Monday had been arrested on charges ranging from misdemeanor curfew violations to felony assaults on police officers and making death threats against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the Capitol siege.
Cops in Philadelphia, meanwhile, are allowed to attend political events or rallies as spectators as long as they’re off-duty and not on city property or using their title or city resources, CBS Philadelphia reported, citing a municipal employee ethics manual.
With Post wires