An FBI special agent was suspended and stripped of his badge and gun after issuing a complaint about the investigation into suspects believed to be part of the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol.
Steven Friend, 37, is a 12-year veteran of the FBI and a father of two. He was declared AWOL by the FBI after refusing to participate in Jan. 6 investigations the bureau was conducting on citizens, claiming they were in violation of their civil liberties and they had a duty to uphold the Constitution.
“The investigations were inconsistent with FBI procedure and resulted in the violation of citizens’ Sixth and Eight Amendment rights,” Friend wrote in a whistleblower complaint filed last month with the Department of Justice Inspector General.
“This investigative misconduct is impacting people’s civil liberties,” said Dan Meyer, Friend’s attorney. “They’re being subject to search warrants that are unlawful. They’re being subject to a violation of their constitutional rights, the Bill of Rights. “
When asked about those involved in the Capitol riots, Friend told his supervisor, “some of the people who entered the Capitol committed crimes, but others were innocent.”
After refusing to participate, Friend was placed on Absent Without Leave (AWOL) status and was notified he could be subject to disciplinary action.
“There is a vast amount of investigative effort going on right now related to Jan. 6, and Steven wants those people who are under investigation, particularly the innocent ones, to be investigated in a manner which respects the Constitution,” Meyer said. “And that has not been happening.”
“They were all being directed centrally from Washington,” Meyer also said. “There were cases in his name that he was not working. So that leads to problems of accountability. “
Two Republicans, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Ron Johnson, have called on Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray to end the special agent’s suspension.
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