An off-duty Drug Enforcement Administration agent posed for photos showing his DEA badge and gun outside the United States Capitol during the January 6 riot , according to a file filed Tuesday after the arrest of the agent.
A video posted on the internet also showed Mark Sami Ibrahim carrying a flag bearing the words “Liberty or Death” outside the Capitol, about 12 minutes before a crowd of people destroyed a set of barricades nearby, the officials said. authorities.
Ibrahim, 32, of Orange County, Calif., Was a DEA probation employee and was on personal leave from the agency when he visited Washington on January 6. Several weeks before the riot, he had announced his intention to resign. .
Ibrahim was not working as a law enforcement officer on Capitol Hill on January 6, but he told investigators after the riot he was there to help a friend who had been asked to document the event for the FBI .
The friend denied this, however, and told investigators Ibrahim concocted the fake story to “cover his ass”, according to a summary of the case signed by the chief special agent of the inspector’s office. General of the Ministry of Justice.
“According to Ibrahim’s friend, Ibrahim went to the rally in order to promote himself,” the OIG agent wrote. “Ibrahim had been thinking about his next move after leaving the DEA and wanted the protests to be his stage to launch a political podcast and cigar brand ‘Liberty Tavern’.”
Ibrahim admitted he was on Capitol Hill on Jan.6 with a relative and friend, but denied displaying or displaying his DEA badge and firearm there despite photographic evidence to the contrary, authorities said.
Ibrahim was arrested in Washington on Tuesday on charges including entering or staying in a building or restricted property with a gun and making a false statement when he denied showing his badge or firearm.
Defense attorney Darren Richie said Ibrahim did not participate in the riot, commit any violence or attempt to enter the Capitol that day. He also remained “honest and willingly cooperative” with the authorities, Richie added.
“This indictment is the result of conjecture, political pressure and a mistaken attempt to paint a specific narrative through images taken totally out of context. Mr. Ibrahim firmly believes that the truth will always prevail, ”Richie said in a statement.
US magistrate judge Zia Faruqui ordered Ibrahim’s release after his initial court appearance on Tuesday. Prosecutors did not request his pre-trial detention.
A spokesperson for the DEA did not immediately respond to an email asking for comment on Tuesday.
The DEA had refused for months to say whether any of its agents attended the rally, saying it could not comment on “specific personnel matters.”
“If we receive any information that an employee has been at fault, it is DEA policy to promptly refer the matter to the proper authorities for review,” the agency told AP in January.
Ibrahim denied breaking any laws, telling Fox News in March that he “had never even set foot on the Capitol stairs.” He said he attended the rally with his brother, an FBI agent, who had faced “no adverse action” for attending.
“When the crowd started to be hostile to law enforcement, with myself in charge of law enforcement, I started to document everything,” Ibrahim told host Tucker Carlson, adding that he then handed over the documents to the FBI “so that these criminals can be brought to justice”.
“I wanted to help law enforcement that day as best I could. I really didn’t think about it, ”he said.
After flying to Los Angeles, Ibrahim said, he was stripped of his badge and weapon and “fired after being suspended for two months for performance issues.”
“They were wrong,” he said of his dismissal. “My brother and I both served in the military. I followed him to federal law enforcement. My sister is a Navy veteran. My mother was in the Pentagon on September 11.
“The saddest thing about it,” Ibrahim added, “is that I can no longer serve my country.”
In a group WhatsApp chat with at least five other law enforcement officers, Ibrahim posted a photo of himself standing near barricades that had been taken down by the crowd several minutes earlier, the OIG agent wrote. He also posted a video in the chat that showed Ashli Babbitt, a woman shot dead inside the Capitol, being taken from the building to an ambulance by rescuers, the officer said.
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