An officer from the Montgomery County Police Department was arrested Thursday after being indicted for his actions at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, which include assaulting police officers, according to an indictment.
Twenty-five-year-old Justin Lee of Rockville, Maryland is the subject of a seven-count indictment, according to a press release from the Department of Justice, which include “felony offenses of civil disorder and assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers.”
“In addition to the felonies,” the press release continues, “Lee is charged with several misdemeanor offenses, including entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building and act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings.
“According to the indictment, on January 6, 2021, Lee forcibly assaulted a law enforcement officer and obstructed, impeded, or interfered with a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder. Lee is also accused of entering and remaining in the US Capitol grounds while the vice president was and would be temporarily visiting without lawful authority to do so and engaging in disruptive conduct, physical violence and disorderly conduct while on restricted grounds of the Capitol.”
Lee was not yet a police officer in 2021, raising concerns about the Montgomery County Police Department’s vetting procedures. He had been with the department for a year and a half when he was placed administrative leave in July, after his fatal shooting of a stabbing suspect, Franklin Castro Ordonez, who had attacked three women with a twelve-inch butcher’s knife. Ordonez was refusing to comply with officers and had lunged towards Lee with the knife when he was shot, according to a police press release.
“It’s a little hard to wrap your head around the idea that you would participate in an insurrection in which people were attacking police — including police from Montgomery County — and then want to work for the same department you attacked,” Montgomery County executive Marc Elrich told the press. “It’s bizarre, it’s hard to understand the logic behind it.”
In a statement, the Montgomery County Police Department said Lee had been suspended without pay “as a result of his involvement and subsequent indictment in connection with the events of the January 6 insurrection.”
“The Montgomery County Police Department conducts a thorough background investigation as part of its standard hiring process to ensure the suitability of candidates for employment,” the statement continues. “Lee’s involvement in the January 6 insurrection was not discovered during this process, as he was not identified by the Justice Department in connection with the event.
“In light of Lee’s arrest, he has been suspended without pay, and the department is taking steps to terminate his employment. MCPD takes these matters seriously and is dedicated to taking decisive action when necessary. As a result, we are initiating a comprehensive review of our background investigation process to determine whether adjustments need to be made.”