CBP Officer Won't Be Charged for Carrying Gun During Rally Supporting Capitol Rioters

An officer from U.S. Customs and Border Protection was arrested for carrying a gun during a rally at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, but he will not face charges for the offense, the Associated Press reported.

The rally was promoted as a show of support for people charged in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, when a mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters breached the Capitol as they attempted to delay the certification of President Joe Biden's election victory.

The CBP officer, 27, whose name was not released, was arrested by Capitol Police after other rally attendees noticed he had a handgun and reported him to law enforcement. While federal law generally allows members of law enforcement to carry their firearms in other states, even those with tight gun laws, that right is exempt on certain government areas or military bases where carrying a gun is illegal.

The U.S. Capitol is one of those areas, the AP reported. A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney's office in Washington said that prosecutors are "not moving forward with the charges," but refrained from offering any additional insight behind the decision.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Rally for Jan. 6 Rioters
An officer from U.S. Customs and Border Protection was arrested for carrying a gun during a rally at the U.S. Capitol. Police circle a man, center with glasses, during the rally in Washington, Saturday, September 18, 2021. Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP Photo

The CBP officer's arrest and presence at the event were surprising because the rally was billed as an event to support those who have been charged in January's riot. That riot left dozens of police officers beaten, bloodied and bruised as the crowd of pro-Trump rioters, some armed with pipes, bats and bear spray, charged into the Capitol, quickly overrunning the overwhelmed police force.

During January's riot, one officer was beaten and shocked with a stun gun repeatedly until he had a heart attack; another was foaming at the mouth and screaming for help as rioters crushed him between two doors and bashed him in the head with his own weapon.

Law enforcement officials had prepared extensively for the possibility that Saturday's rally could devolve into violence — bringing back the fence around the Capitol, activating the city's entire police force and requesting assistance from the National Guard — taking no chance as they aimed to avoid a repeat of the January 6 attack. Police had also warned they would come down hard on anyone who violated Washington's gun laws.

But there were very few incidents on Saturday and only a handful of arrests. Four people were arrested, including the Customs and Border Protection officer.

Two law enforcement officials said the officer was not at the rally in any official capacity. The officials could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general was also notified of his arrest.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it was aware of the arrest and was "fully cooperating with the investigation."

"CBP stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission and expects officers to adhere to the oath they take to uphold the laws of this country," the agency said in a statement.

Rioters Storm Capitol
A rally, which took place Saturday at the U.S. Capitol, was promoted as a show of support for those arrested or charged in connection with the January 6 Capitol riots. Rioters break into the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021. John Minchillo/AP Photo