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Protesters clash outside Rocky Mount Town Council meeting amid backlash over officers at Capitol

ROCKY MOUNT, Va. – Two Rocky Mount police officers remain on administrative leave after a photo showing the men standing inside the U.S. Capitol the same day as the deadly riot.

Officers Thomas Robertson and Jacob Fracker admit to being in the photo in question, but maintain their innocence.

[Photo surfaces showing two Rocky Mount police officers inside Capitol on Wednesday]

Robertson said they were willingly let in by Capitol police and didn’t participate in any violence. Both Robertson and Fracker are on administrative leave pending a local and federal investigation.

As of Monday night, the U.S. Capitol Police had not responded to the allegations that the two Rocky Mount officers thought they were allowed in.

The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association provided 10 News with the following statement:

“The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association (VSA) denounces in the strongest terms the horrifying events at the Capitol of the United States on January 6, 2021. The VSA applauds all efforts by appropriate law enforcement agencies to identify and arrest any individual that unlawfully entered the Capitol or otherwise broke the rule of law.”

Questions still remain about what - if any - action Rocky Mount officials will take against the officers.

A 10 News crew was there Monday night as two opposing groups of protesters clashed outside the Rocky Mount Town Council meeting.

Scene outside Rocky Mount Town Council meeting

Here's a look outside tonight's Rocky Mount Town Council meeting where our Lindsey Kennett WSLS 10 News says there are Black Lives Matter supporters and protesters who support the two officers who were photographed at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Posted by WSLS 10 / WSLS.com on Monday, January 11, 2021

There were Black Lives Matter supporters demanding action and also people who showed up to support the officers and their actions at the Capitol.

Activist Bridgette Craighead shared the photo of Robertson and Fracker on Facebook.

“I understand exercising your right, but to be a part of a violent, deadly, riot. I don’t want an officer like that serving in my community,” said Craighead.

Robertson said they were willingly let in by Capitol police and didn’t participate in the violent rioting.

Olivia Clements, who said she’s known Fracker since high school, was in tears.

“The fact that they were even able to get in the Capitol is beyond me,” said Clements. “It’s just not right. It’s not fair. That there’s these two different standards.”

Others showed up to support the officers, including Brittney Perdue who said she’s a longtime family friend of Robertson.

“They’re both great guys and I don’t believe they’ve done anything wrong” said Perdue.

During Monday night’s virtual meeting, Rocky Mount Town Council did not discuss what would happen to the officers, who are both placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Council didn’t read public comments aloud.

A closed session followed with just two personnel matters on that agenda.

After the meeting, council members who were escorted by police to their cars, didn’t make comments to reporters outside.

Town manager James Ervin uttered two words when 10 News asked for a comment about the fate of the officers: “Not yet.”


About the Author:

Lindsey joined the WSLS 10 team as a reporter in February 2019 and is thrilled to call Roanoke her new home!