Maryland Police Officer Charged in Jan. 6 Capitol Attack

Maryland Police Officer Charged in Jan 6 Capitol Attack | ltc-a

A Maryland police officer was arrested Thursday on charges related to his participation in the Capitol attack, including assaulting law enforcement.

The officer, Justin Lee, 25, had not been an officer at the time of the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021. He was hired in January 2022. The officer was on leave after shooting to death a man armed with a knife at a shopping mall in July of this year, according to the police.

Mr. Lee was charged with seven counts, including two felonies: civil disorder and assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers. He was also charged with misdemeanors including entering and engaging in physical violence in a restricted area and disorderly conduct, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

The indictment, in Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, did not go into more detail about the allegations against Mr. Lee.

The Montgomery County Police Department said in a statement that Mr. Lee had applied to be an officer in July 2021 and that its “thorough background investigation” did not uncover a link to the attack.

The department said it was “initiating a comprehensive review of our background investigation process to determine whether adjustments need to be made.”

In July, the department said, Mr. Lee was involved “in the shooting death of an armed suspect.” In that incident, he shot a 19 year old, Franklin Castro Ordonez, in a confrontation after four people were stabbed at a shopping center. The police said Mr. Ordonez was armed with a butcher knife when Mr. Lee shot him.

The department said that as a result of Mr. Lee’s arrest in the Capitol attack, he was suspended without pay and that “the department is taking steps to terminate his employment.”

The Washington Post and other media outlets reported that Mr. Lee was represented by Terrell N. Roberts III. Mr. Roberts did not comment to The Post or immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

“I’m pretty disappointed and more than a little bit angry,” Marc Elrich, the county executive in Montgomery, Md., said in a news media briefing on Thursday. “It’s a little hard to wrap your head around the idea that you would participate in an insurrection in which people were attacking police, including police from Montgomery County, and then want to work for the same department that you attacked.”

He said the Justice Department had only told the county of Mr. Lee’s connection to the Jan. 6 riot a few weeks ago. “We’re trying to understand why” it had taken so long, he said.