LEBANON, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania township has announced the resignation of its police chief after an officer was charged with federal offenses stemming from the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former president Donald Trump over the results of the 2020 election.
The North Cornwall Township board of supervisors said in a statement read at Tuesday night's meeting that chief John Leahy had “voluntarily elected to resign his employment." Leahy had been placed on administrative leave with pay Feb. 20 as the township investigated Officer Joseph Fischer’s arrest by the FBI.
Fifty-four-year-old Fischer, listed as a patrolman on the department’s site, was suspended without pay after he was charged with obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, entering a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and obstruction of justice.
Authorities say that he posted a Facebook video showing the recorder entering the building Jan. 6 and getting into a “physical encounter” with at least one police officer. A later post, authorities allege, said “entry into the Capital was needed to send a message that we the people hold the real power.”
The township said it recognized individuals' rights to free speech and association as well as a presumption of innocence on criminal charges, but doesn't condone “any alleged participation in a crime against the United States nor any act committed by any individual who may have illegally breached the United States Capitol."