Philadelphia police have taken away a detective’s gun amid a probe into her attendance at the Washington rally where President Donald Trump incited his followers to storm the Capitol.
Detective Jennifer Gugger, 51, had already been reassigned from her position as a background checker for police recruits, after the department’s Internal Affairs division received social media posts showing that she had attended the rally.
This latest action comes after Gugger’s vitriolic, far-right rhetoric on social media was made public Monday — including a tweet in which she called Vice President Mike Pence a “traitor and a cabal operative and pedophile” after he condemned the Jan. 6 insurrection and publicly lamented the death of a Capitol police officer.
In another tweet, sent just hours after the attack, Gugger, whose job included reviewing recruits’ social media activity, told Pence he was filled with “the deadly sin of greed” and had sold his soul to the devil.
“A decision was made during the investigation to take her gun and place her on restricted duty,” said Sgt. Eric Gripp, a department spokesperson.
He said police can take an officer’s weapon at any point during an Internal Affairs investigation, if there is a possibility of criminal behavior. Police had initially stressed that Gugger was only being reassigned — not benched — as investigators went about their work. The initial tip about her attendance at the rally did not include evidence that she had participated in the storming of the Capitol.
Since the investigation is still ongoing, Gripp said he could not comment on what caused the department to strip Gugger of her policing powers, but he said hate speech would represent a crime.
FOP union president John McNesby — who has said he believes Gugger had nothing to do with the lawlessness at the Capitol — dismissed the action as just a normal step in the investigation.
“They’re probably just getting around to it,” he said.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw has promised “swift and definitive action” against any Philadelphia police officer found to have played a part in the violence at the Capitol. Five people died in the siege, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died from injuries sustained in the attack.
Even if evidence shows Gugger played no part in the violence, investigators will now have to determine whether her online postings violated departmental social media policies, or crossed the line into criminal behavior.
In October, Gugger, posting under the name Jenny Lynn, changed her Facebook profile picture to Q, the conspiracy theory that has been deemed a domestic terror threat by the FBI and posits that Trump is fighting a secret war against a “deep state” and that Democrats are led by Satan-worshipping, cannibalistic pedophiles.