ROCKY MOUNT, Va. (WFXR) — Community leaders in Franklin County are calling for the two Rocky Mount police officers facing federal charges in connection with the riots at the U.S. Capitol — as well as some other public officials — to be fired or resign.
Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson are currently on administrative leave after the Rocky Mount Police Department learned the two off-duty officers attended the pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6.
Now, Franklin County community leaders are taking action in the form of letters.
“We took a public position as a public organization representing the Town of Rocky Mount, citizens of the Town of Rocky Mount, and asked for certain action to be taken,” said Eddie Seay, the director of Franklin County Voters Matter.
Those actions include asking for the two officers and some public officials to be fired.
“There were about 100 emails sent out as a result of writing the letter,” Seay said.
“We’re kind of waiting on a response from them and the response that they have given us is not enough, so it’s like, what’s next?” said Bridgette Craighead, the founder of Black Lives Matter Franklin County. “So we’re trying to think of every way we can let them know that we are serious about everything that happened on the sixth.”
In other words, these community leaders are not letting the matter go.
However, according to Town Manager James Ervin, by law, the town is required to follow the “Law Enforcement Officers Procedural Guarantee Act,” which states the officers cannot be dismissed without a proper investigation.
Despite what either party says, one thing is clear: a single picture opened the flood gates.
On Jan. 10, Craighead got a call from the FBI regarding their investigation.
“I was happy that external help has reached out to me and I was happy to let them know where Franklin County needs to be investigated.”
Ervin says he’s the one who gave the FBI a heads up.
“I personally reported the issues to the FBI on the ninth with a copy of the image that has been circulating. The Chief of Police placed them on leave on the 10th.
Two days passed from the time Ervin received the photo and when he contacted the FBI.
“We learned about the participation on the seventh, we debriefed the officers on the eighth in terms of their involvement to make a determination if it went beyond free speech,” said Ervin.
A federal complaint shows the officers’ Facebook posts ultimately led to the federal charges placed against Fracker and Robertson.
Both men are due back in court on Feb. 2.