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PA officer arrested by Feds for Capitol riot after his Chief tips them off


Jana Benscoter


Joseph Fischer, a North Cornwall Township police officer in Lebanon County, was charged Friday for participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to a criminal complaint.

Fischer was charged with obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, violent entry, and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds. He is currently being detained in Dauphin County Prison.

The 54-year-old was caught bragging on his Facebook profile, under the user name SV Spindrift, about storming the federal building, according to authorities. He additionally published a video featuring him at the front of the pack pushing police officers, authorities said in the criminal complaint.

While the video was removed from his profile page, law enforcement obtained a subpoena for user information linked to SV Spindrift’s Facebook account. Federal authorities were able to make an arrest based on that information.

Fischer has a preliminary/detention hearing scheduled in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 23.

Fischer is currently suspended without pay, WGAL reported. The report noted that North Cornwall Township released a statement about Fischer’s involvement:

“North Cornwall Township was made aware that, earlier this morning, a member of its police force was arrested by the FBI on charges stemming from the January 06, 2021 incident that occurred at the United States Capitol building. No Township official had any knowledge of this individual’s actions prior to his arrest.

“The Township recognizes every citizen’s right to free speech; however, each citizen must also be accountable for his or her actions. Accordingly, as required by the Pennsylvania Confidence in Law Enforcement Act, the police officer was immediately suspended without pay pending the disposition of these charges.

“While every citizen accused of a crime must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, the Township, its elected officials, its police officers, and its employees wish to make clear that the United States of America is a government of laws which we are sworn to uphold. Neither the township nor any officer or employee endorses, accepts, or condones any alleged participation in a crime against the United States of America nor any act committed by an individual who may have illegally breached the United States Capitol on January 06, 2021.”

At least 18 people from Pennsylvania have been charged by federal authorities in the investigation of the Capitol riot.


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