Jul 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Federal officer charged in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Photo of a crowd of people at the foot of the Capitol building with pro-Trump signs

Photo: Robert Nickelsberg via Getty Images

A federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent who was on leave and planned to resign was arrested Tuesday for illegally entering Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, according to court filings.

Why it matters: Mark Sami Ibrahim is the first federal law enforcement officer charged in connection to the insurrection.

Details: Ibrahim was part of the mob that crowded onto U.S. Capitol grounds on Jan. 6. Court filings show he climbed on the Peace Memorial and posed for several photographs in which his DEA badge and firearm are displayed.

  • He was in a WhatsApp group chat with at least five other law enforcement officers, the filings noted. He later took a video of himself standing inside overrun barricades and posted it to the WhatsApp group.
    • "Question Mark, you are carrying your duty weapon and your badge/creds?" one group chat member asked Ibrahim, per the filing.
  • Ibrahim also posted a video his friend took of Ashli Babbitt as she was loaded into an ambulance.
  • "He was not on duty for the DEA and had no role as a law enforcement officer on the Capitol grounds," the filing said.

Ibrahim claimed that the FBI had asked his friend to document the protests and attended the event with his friend "to assist with that effort," per court documents.

  • The friend, however, told authorities that Ibrahim "crafted this story ... to 'cover his ass'" and that the FBI never gave the friend directions on documentation.
  • Ibrahim's friend told FBI agents that he attended the protests "to promote himself" as he considered post-DEA steps.

The big picture: Federal prosecutors have described the Capitol riot probe — which has seen charges against over 550 people thus far — as "likely the most complex investigation ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice."

  • Paul Hodgkins became the first Jan. 6 rioter to be sentenced for a felony on Monday, setting a benchmark for hundreds of other cases brought against individuals involved in the attack.
  • 1 in 10 defendants from the U.S. insurrection have ties to the military, CNN reported in May.
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