Ibrahim is said to have told investigators at the Justice Department’s Inspector General’s office that he did not show his DEA badge or firearm during the protest, but an affidavit supporting the charges against him says he posed for several photos in which he appeared to deliberately display his insignia as well as the holstered pistol on his hip. Two were included in the court file.
After media reports surfaced in March that Ibrahim had been inside the Capitol, his attorney Darren Richie acknowledged that the DEA had suspended Ibrahim for his presence at the event.
“Mr. Ibrahim was not part of, was not affiliated with or participated in any offense or violent acts and vehemently disapproves of them,” Richie told several news outlets in March. He also claimed that Ibrahim had helped authorities through videos of what happened that day in the Capitol.
On Tuesday, Richie told POLITICO that “Ibrahim was not involved in any riots. He never committed any violence, never attempted to enter buildings, nor did he induce or promote others,” and that the “charge is a result of suspicions, political pressure and a flawed attempt to paint a specific story through photographs taken completely out of context.”
Ibrahim’s status with the DEA is unclear. The affidavit presented to the court by a Justice Department inspector general said Ibrahim was a “probationary worker” of the DEA at the time of the riots and had announced his intention several weeks earlier. to resign. Senior Special Agent Jason Higley said Ibrahim was on personal leave on Jan. 6 and “was not employed by the DEA and had no role as a law enforcement officer on the Capitol Grounds.”
Higley said Ibrahim told investigators he went to the events in Washington with a friend who had been asked by the FBI to document the event. The friend denied that account, saying the FBI was not giving him any directions or marching orders, the inspector general said.
The friend also said that Ibrahim attended the meeting to promote a political podcast and cigar brand “Liberty Tavern” that he wanted to launch.
Photos taken during the protest show Ibrahim carrying a pole bearing both the 13-state, Betsy Ross-designed American flag and a white flag adorned with a single blue star and the words “Freedom or death”.
According to Higley, on the day of the riots, Ibrahim was in a WhatsApp chat with at least five other law enforcement officers and sent several photos of himself. At some point in the afternoon, one of the other officers wrote to Ibrahim: “Question mark, are you carrying your service weapon and your badge/creds? I need to know this mark.”
During an interview with the inspector general’s office in March, Ibrahim acknowledged carrying those items, but denied showing them off. “I had my credentials. I had my firearm and my badge with me. . . But never exposed. . . Not that I know of,” he said, according to Higley.
DEA spokesmen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While more than 500 people have been charged with illegally entering the Capitol, federal charges are rare against those who only crossed police lines outside the building, though some have been charged with clashing with police or destroying property.