The Franklin Co. group also wants Rocky Mount’s town manager and police chief to resign.
ROCKY MOUNT-It’s time for them to go. Franklin County Voters Matter handed down that message this week. In a letter to Rocky Mount officials, the group called for Thomas Robertson and Jacob Fracker to be immediately fired.
Fracker and Robertson were the two Rocky Mount police officers who documented their involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, sharing pictures and posting about the event on their respective Facebook pages. Federal officials charged the men with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority. Officials also charged them with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
The Rocky Mount Police Department put both men on administrative leave until the department’s own investigation into the incident finishes. However, that’s not enough for the Voters Matter group. Describing themselves as an organization of more than 500 people who live in Rocky Mount or the surrounding Franklin County, FCVM members said in the letter the two officers went too far.
“While we respect the Freedom of Speech that our constitution provides, we cannot ignore the behaviors of these public officials as they participated in an insurrection against our US government,” the group wrote. “Public comments by these individuals before the insurrection confirm their reasons for being there on January 6. Therefore, we are asking for the immediate firing of these individuals and their being removed from the Taxpayer’s responsibility.”
Beyond that, the group called for Rocky Mount Police Chief Ken Criner and Town Manager C. James Ervin to resign immediately.
“This is a very emotional and serious time in the existence of Rocky Mount,” FCVM members wrote. “Let us continue to provide opportunities for continued progress and growth by demanding integrity in our local governments.”
What Happened at the Capitol
Robertson and Fracker arrived in Washington Jan. 6 for a rally involving then-President Donald Trump. At that rally, Trump told his supporters gathered on Jan. 6 they should march to the Capitol. They did exactly that.
The group stormed the Capitol, injuring several police officers, killing one and temporarily taking control of parts of the building. Brian Sicknick, a 42-year-old Virginia resident and Capitol Police officer, died from injuries sustained in the attack.
Both Robertson and Fracker posted on social media after the attack. The men took a picture of themselves standing in the Capitol Crypt on Jan. 6, in front of the John Stark statue. The crypt is directly beneath the Capitol rotunda. Robertson showed the picture in response to a comment on Fracker’s page. He said he was proud of it.
“It shows 2 men willing to actually put skin in the game and stand up for their rights,” Robertson wrote. “If you are too much of a coward to risk arrest, being fired and actual gunfire to secure your rights, you have no words to speak I value. Enjoy your feel good protests and fame. I’ll simply accept a “Thank you” for the very blanket of freedom that you live and sleep under.”
Robertson also posted on his own Facebook page.
“CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business,” he wrote. “The Left rioted all Summer and just burned their own neighborhoods, assaulted numerous civilians, and destroyed and looted small family owned stores. The Right IN ONE DAY (without weapons) took the f***ing US Capitol. Keep poking us.”
No Response From Franklin County
Federal officials arrested the two Franklin County residents Jan. 13. The 47-year-old Robertson and 29-year-old Fracker were in court Tuesday for a hearing. They’ll return Feb. 2.
As for Franklin County and Rocky Mount officials, they haven’t responded to questions since issuing a statement Jan. 14. In the letter, the officials said they take the matter seriously.
“We stand with and add our support to those who have denounced the violence and illegal activity that took place that day,” officials wrote in the letter. “Our Town and our Police Department absolutely does not condone illegal or unethical behavior by anyone, including our officers and staff. To the families of those whose lives were taken too soon, and all those shaken by the events over the past week, we are mourning with you and actively working to do our part in helping federal investigators do their jobs.”
Brian Carlton is Dogwood’s managing editor. You can reach him at email@example.com.