A retired city Firefighter has been charged with participating in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection which placed the lives of officials including then-Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in jeopardy and resulted in the death of a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
According to FBI court documents filed Jan. 16, retired Firefighter Thomas Fee, 53, of Melville was charged with unlawfully entering a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct.
Left 3 Months Earlier
Mr. Fee, who retired from the FDNY in October, was arraigned virtually on Jan. 19 before Federal Magistrate Judge Steven Tiscione and released on $100,000 bond.
A message left with his attorney brought no response.
Mr. Fee got on the FBI's radar after an unnamed Special Agent of the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service whose sister was dating the ex-Firefighter forwarded to his superiors and the Joint Terrorism Task Force a selfie the ex-Firefighter had snapped of himself inside the Capitol Rotunda.
The Special Agent also passed along a text he had received from Mr. Fee stated he had been "at the tip of the spear" during the siege that disrupted Congress's certification of the Electoral College results, which were finally approved at 3:40 the following morning.
The court papers indicated the Special Agent's sister alerted him to Mr. Fee's presence after spotting a post on Facebook. Mr. Fee also allegedly sent the agent a video of some of the rioters shouting "tyranny" and Ms. Pelosi's name.
FDNY Knew Early
On the day of the insurrection, the FDNY issued a statement acknowledging it had "received anonymous allegations that active or retired members were present at the events at the United States Capitol on January 6 and, as required, has provided that information to the FBI."
Three days later, the Daily News published a photo of an unidentified individual outside the Capitol building wearing a Squad 252 jacket, and quoted an anonymous source as saying there was a second "active FDNY Firefighter" photographed at the scene.
Uniformed Firefighters Association President Andy Ansbro declined comment but noted that the union provides legal representation to retired members only if it concerns ongoing matters with the FDNY.
The Sanitation Department Jan. 20 announced it had suspended without pay an employee who appeared in a video just outside the Capitol Building during the siege waving a Trump flag and shouting slogans associated with the QAnon conspiracy movement. The following evening, Sanitation Worker Dominick Madden was arrested in Brooklyn by the FBI and subsequently charged with entering the Capitol Building to "knowingly disrupt the orderly conduct of government business."
Mayor: Fire Them All
Mayor de Blasio said the day after the invasion of the Capitol Building that any city employees who took part would be fired, while Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in response to a report that a city cop had also been involved that if that proved true, the officer "would have a very short shelf life with the NYPD."
A few days after the Capitol siege, James Lemonda, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, said the "circumstances that occurred in the 'People's House' on [Jan. 6] were offensive to all Americans [regardless of] your political affiliation, party or the candidate you voted for."
On Jan. 13, Will Pepe, 31, a Laborer at Metro-North's rail yard in Brewster was arrested for participating in the siege at the Capitol after being caught on video inside the building staring at his cell phone.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has said it is moving to fire Mr. Pepe, who was released on a $10,000 bond.
So far, the FBI has arrested well over a hundred individuals, including police officers, firefighters, and both active-duty and retired members of the U.S. Military on charges including weapons possession and assaulting a police officer.
Two Capitol Police officers have been suspended for allegedly taking "selfies" with the Trump rioters and a dozen others are under investigation related to their conduct on Jan. 6.
Federal prosecutors have opened up more than 300 investigations that Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen had said were advanced significantly by tips from the public.
"Over the past two weeks we have seen friends, family members, co-workers and others reporting information to us about those who were involved in the breach of the Capitol on Jan. 6," Mr. Rosen said Jan. 19. "The FBI has received nearly 200,000 digital tips from the public. The American people have demonstrated they will not let mob violence go unanswered."
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