In a brief news conference Wednesday evening, Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Robert J. Contee III, announced that a long-time veteran of the department would be placed on “administrative leave status” after “concerns” were brought to his attention stemming from an “ongoing investigation” being conducted by the Metro police, the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
These “concerns” revolve around the officer’s intimate ties to the Proud Boys militia group. The Proud Boys, along with the Oath Keepers, III Percenters and other white supremacists, led the charge on the Capitol during former president Donald Trump’s failed January 6, 2021 coup.
Trump’s support for the far-right group was made clear during a September, 2020 presidential debate with Joe Biden. When asked to denounce the virulently racist and anticommunist group, Trump refused, instead ordering the group to “stand back and stand by.”
In his prepared and purposely vague remarks Wednesday, Chief Contee divulged few details while at the same time pledging his commitment to “transparency and accountability.”
After announcing the unnamed officer would be placed on leave, Contee took a few questions, which he did not answer. The police chief refused to identify the name of the officer, what the “concerns” raised by the DoJ and FBI were, how these “concerns” were initially raised, if the investigation involved activity conducted on or before January 6, 2021, or if the officer had been in contact with the Proud Boys. The only thing Contee did confirm, though, was that the cop was still getting paid after being placed on leave, by him, on February 16.
After Contee’s press conference, the Washington Post identified the officer in question as Shane Lamond, a “lieutenant in the intelligence branch” and a 22-year veteran of the department. Citing anonymous sources, the Post confirmed that the investigation stemmed from Lamond’s frequent contact with the former chairman of the Proud Boys and admitted FBI informant, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio.
As of this writing, no charges have been announced against Lamond, who has so far refused to make any public statements.
In an interview with the Post, Tarrio confirmed that he had maintained contact with Lamond and other police officials in advance of Proud Boys rallies and pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” events. Tarrio also admitted that that Lamond would pass on the locations of “counter-demonstrators” to his group of street brawlers.
In his interview with the Post and in another interview in the far-right Gateway Pundit, Tarrio tried to cover for his police contact, claiming that their relationship was “professional” and that Lamond was “just a liaison officer for when we held rallies.”
“They’re just trying to get anybody at this point.” Tarrio told the Post, referring to investigators. “I only told him, ‘We’re coming into town and we’re going to hold this protest.’ That’s as far as the relationship went.”
The latest revelation of the relationship between the far-right group and the police further explodes any notion that the attack on the Capitol was unforeseen. There is no doubt that the activities of the Proud Boys, which were being actively monitored in real-time by multiple police and federal agencies, were well known to the intelligence agencies prior to the attack. Moreover, Tarrio himself is an admitted government informant
This is not the first time US police have been caught offering their intelligence services to the Proud Boys militia group. Proud Boy leader and veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Joseph Biggs, one of four members of the group charged with felony conspiracy and obstruction for their actions on January 6, has also publicly admitted to sharing information with FBI agents and local police since at least 2018.
Elements within the police and intelligence apparatus, working in coordination with Republican Party operatives, such as Trump confidant Roger Stone, knew of the planned attack on the Capitol and allowed it to happen.
Despite the Proud Boys’ known reputation as a violent far-right group, police departments across the country, including the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police, have a history of working with the group and turning a blind eye as they beat and assault left-wing and anti-police protesters. The World Socialist Web Site has reported extensively on the coordination between the Portland Police Bureau and far-right militias such as the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer.
Last December, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department's Intelligence Bureau “closely watched Black-led organizations and anti-racist groups for years while ignoring the growing far-right threat.” Their analysis was based on leaks of over 70,000 emails and documents from the MPD. The SPLC reported that searching for “Black Lives Matter” or “antifa” returned 51 and 53 results respectively among the documents.
Meanwhile, searching for “far-right” produced no documents or references to extremists groups, while “Nazi” only yielded eight hits, “three from an email about an anti-fascist punching a neo-Nazi,” the SPLC notes.
Last month, an investigation by the city of Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability revealed that during anti-police violence protests on June 8, 2020, the Seattle police purposely faked radio transmissions to give the illusion that armed Proud Boys were prowling the streets looking to confront protesters. The ruse caused some the protesters to take up arms themselves, providing fodder for the far-right and President Trump, who threatened to “take back” the city from armed protesters.
At least 25 members of the Proud Boys have been charged for their role in the attack on the Capitol. In contrast to the brutal police suppression meted out to multi-racial protesters against police violence following the murder of George Floyd, the far-right thugs who stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election and install Trump as president-dictator, were treated by police that day with the utmost respect and courtesy.
In a congressional hearing last year, Capitol Police inspector general Michael Bolton confirmed that while some “200 Proud Boys” massed outside the Capitol at 10:59 a.m., no counter-surveillance or police units were deployed to monitor the group. Instead, Bolton testified that 25 minutes later, police units were instead deployed to monitor “3-4 counter-demonstrators.”
Prior to January 6, D.C. police allowed the Proud Boys to congregate at the Capitol for Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rallies, during which the fascists would provoke fights with counter-demonstrators. After a November 3 rally which ended in violence, the police invited the former Proud Boys chairman to ride along with them as they hunted for alleged “suspects.”
“I got in a cruiser with a police officer because I was trying to identify the suspects,” Tarrio said in an interview reported by USA Today. “We drove up and down the street trying to find them.”
Tarrio was conveniently, arrested two days before January 6 for burning a “Black Lives Matter” banner in D.C. the month prior. After pleading guilty, Tarrio was sentenced to jail for five months in August, and was released from the D.C. jail last month.
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