- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 20, 2021

Joseph Wayne Fischer, a police officer from Jonestown, Pennsylvania, was arrested Friday after the FBI said he posted online about being among the mobs that breached the U.S. Capitol last month.

Mr. Fischer, a patrolman for the North Cornwall Township Police Department, allegedly made comments both publicly and privately on Facebook confirming he was inside the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

In a court filing unsealed following his arrest, the FBI alleges Mr. Fischer told another Facebook user he was confronted about being inside the Capitol by his chief of police shortly afterward.

“Well I may need a job … Word got out that I was at the rally ..lol,” Mr. Fischer allegedly said in a Facebook exchange on Jan. 7, an FBI special agent wrote in a filing entered in federal court.

“FBI may arrest me ..lol,” Mr. Fischer allegedly messaged the other Facebook user. 

Later during the exchange, the FBI alleges that Mr. Fischer was asked by the other Facebook user about whether the police department had said anything to him yet about his participation.

“Yep … chief did … I told him if that is the price I have to pay to voice my freedom and liberties which I was born with and thusly taken away then then [sic] must be the price,” Mr. Fischer allegedly replied, the agent said in a statement of facts. “I told him I have no regrets and give zero s–ts … Sometimes doing the right thing no matter how small is more important than ones [sic] own security.”

The FBI agent said investigators began the probe that ultimately led to Mr. Fischer after receiving a tip on Jan. 10, four days after violent mobs stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress met inside.

In the court filing, the FBI agent said it was notified that a Facebook user with the vanity name “SV Spindrift” had bragged online about storming the Capitol and shared a video from the scene.

The FBI then served Facebook a subpoena for records about the account which resulted in agents connecting it to Mr. Fischer, the special agent explained in the newly unsealed statement of facts.

In addition to photos, videos and comments made on Facebook confirming his involvement, the FBI said it found Mr. Fischer in surveillance video footage showing him inside the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“[T]here was some minor destruction and a few things were stolen … but 98% peaceful,” Mr. Fischer allegedly said in a Facebook comment posted Jan. 7, the FBI special agent said in the court filing.

“I was there..we pushed police back about 25 feet. Got pepper balled and OC sprayed, but entry into the Capital was needed to send a message that we the people hold the real power.”

Mr. Fischer has been charged with federal counts of obstruction of law enforcement during a civil disorder; knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and obstruction of Congress, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on its website following his arrest. He was ordered detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, it said.

North Cornwall Township is located in Lebanon County, about 30 miles east of Harrisburg, the state capital, and roughly 90 miles west of Philadelphia. Its website says it has 7,554 residents.

Local news outlets reported the police department has suspended Mr. Fischer without pay. “No Township official had any knowledge of this individual’s actions prior to his arrest,” it said in part.

Mr. Fischer‘s court docket did not list a defense attorney for him who could be reached for comment Saturday.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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