The U.S. Capitol Police suspended an officer on Monday, after a congressional staffer discovered anti-Semitic materials near the officer’s work area as he left a Capitol Hill office building on Sunday.
On Sunday, Zach Fisch was leaving the Longworth House Office Building when he noticed something unusual: a printed copy of an anti-Semitic text. It sat on a table near the entrance to the building and was bound by a single binder clip, with the parts of the title written in large red capital letters, according to a photograph published by The Washington Post, which first reported the story.
Fisch photographed the document and sent the evidence to the Post, which in turn provided it to Capitol Police on Monday morning. Later in the day, it announced its suspension of an officer, who was not identified by the department.
“We take all allegations of inappropriate behavior seriously,” acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said in a statement. “Once this matter was brought to my attention, I immediately ordered the officer to be suspended until the Office of Professional Responsibility can thoroughly investigate.”
The officer will be suspended pending the results of the investigation, the statement said.
Fisch recounted his experience in a Twitter thread on Monday evening, after the suspension was announced.
“As I left my office in Longworth yesterday, I discovered something that, as a Jew, horrified me,” he wrote. “At the United States Capitol Police security checkpoint, someone had left vile anti-Semitic propaganda in plain sight.”
According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the text, titled The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion, “is entirely a work of fiction, intentionally written to blame Jews for a variety of ills.” Its exact origins are unknown, but it was introduced to Adolf Hitler as he was developing his worldview and referenced by him in early speeches, according to the museum.
Fisch said on Twitter that this episode was evidence that not much had changed since the deadly Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol, where at least one man was photographed wearing a sweatshirt that read “Camp Auschwitz,” a reference to the concentration camp where more than 1 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust.
Fisch described the document as “tattered and over two years old,” and said he had many questions about what this meant: Had other officers read this? Did they share those same beliefs?
“This is both a national security problem and a workplace safety problem,” Fisch wrote. “Our office is full of people — Black, brown, Jewish, queer — who have good reason to fear white supremacists. If the USCP is all that stands between us and the mob we saw on Jan. 6, how can we feel safe?”
Although Capitol Police was largely praised for its response to the riots — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has introduced a bill to award it with a Congressional Gold Medal — concerns were also raised over the actions of a small number of officers, with videos showing them pulling down barricades and, in one instance, stopping to take a photo with a rioter. At least two officers were suspended.