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North Cornwall Township police chief placed on paid administrative leave after arrest of one of his officers at Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot

Chief John Leahy was placed on leave while an inquiry into the events surrounding the arrest of Officer Joe Fischer is conducted, the North Cornwall Township Board o

LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. — The North Cornwall Township Chief of Police has been placed on temporary paid administrative leave following the arrest of one of the department's officers at the riot at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6.

Chief John Leahy was placed on leave while an inquiry into the events surrounding the arrest of Officer Joe Fischer is conducted, the North Cornwall Township Board of Supervisors said Monday. 

Sergeant Harry Ward will act as interim officer in charge of the department while the township completes its inquiry, the Board of Supervisors said.

The department learned last Friday that Fischer had been charged in the riot. He was immediately suspended without pay pending the disposition of the charges against him, the Township said in a press release last week. 

Fischer, 54, is charged with obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, knowingly entering or remaining inside a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and obstruction of justice/Congress, according to a complaint affidavit released by the FBI last week.

The FBI said Fischer was charged when investigators learned a Facebook user with the account name SV Spindrift had bragged about entering the Capitol building during the riot and posted a video in which he can be seen at the front of a pack pushing against police outside the building.

Investigators subpoenaed Facebook to obtain contact information for the SV Spindrift profile and traced it to Fischer by the email address listed for the profile, according to the complaint. 

Cell phone tower analysis determined that Fischer's phone was active on Verizon towers servicing the U.S. Capitol building between 3:19 and 3:28 p.m. on Jan. 6, the complaint states.

Fischer also posted several photos of him in attendance at the Stop the Steal rally before and during the riot, according to the complaint. In comments posted on his Facebook page, Fischer allegedly describes making it inside the building and being pepper sprayed, the complaint states.

Videos from other sources appear to depict him among the crowd inside the building, the FBI said.

"The Board wishes to express its confidence in the members of its Police Department who continue to provide public safety services to the Township's residents, regardless of recent events," the board said in a statement announcing its decision on Leahy. "The Board further wishes to express its gratitude to its residents as it works to ensure that all appropriate questions are asked and measures undertaken to protect the continuing professionalism of the Police Department."