An off-duty Drug Enforcement Administration agent posed for photographs while flashing his DEA badge and shotgun outside the US Capitol during the January 6 riots, according to a court filing Tuesday after the agent’s arrest.
A video posted on the Internet showed Mark Sami Ibrahim carrying a flag bearing the words “Liberty or Death” outside the capitol, before a crowd of people broke through a set of barricades, officials said.
Ibrahim, of Orange County, Calif., was a probationary employee of the DEA and was on personal leave from the agency when he traveled to Washington on January 6. Several weeks before the riots, he had reported his intention to resign.
Ibrahim was not working as a law enforcement officer at the Capitol on January 6, but he told investigators after the riots that he was there to help a friend who had been asked to document the incident for the FBI. .
However, Friend denied this and told investigators that Ibrahim had fabricated a false story, according to a case summary signed by a senior special agent with the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General.
The OIG agent wrote, “According to Ibrahim’s friend, Ibrahim had gone to the rally to promote himself.” “Ibrahim was thinking about his next steps after leaving the DEA and wanted the protest ‘Liberty Tavern’ to be his platform for launching a political podcast and cigar brand.”
Ibrahim admitted he was at the Capitol on January 6, but denied that he displayed or exposed his DEA badge and firearm, despite photographic evidence to the contrary, officials say.
Ibrahim was arrested in Washington on Tuesday on charges that included entering or remaining with a firearm in a restricted building or grounds and making false statements upon refusing to display his badge or firearm.
He is due to appear in his preliminary court on Tuesday afternoon before US Magistrate Judge Zia Farooqui.
A DEA spokesperson did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Tuesday. Court records did not immediately list a defense lawyer for Ibrahim.
The DEA for months declined to say whether any of its agents had attended the rally, saying it could not comment on “specific personnel matters”.
“If we receive an indication of an employee engaging in misconduct, the DEA’s policy is to immediately refer the matter to the appropriate authorities for review,” the agency told the Associated Press in January.
Ibrahim denied breaking any laws, telling Fox News in March that he “never set foot on the stairs of the Capital Building.” He said he went to the rally with his brother, an FBI agent, who faced “no adverse action” for participating.
Ibrahim told host Tucker Carlson, “When the crowd started to become hostile to law enforcement, I myself was doing law enforcement, I started documenting everything,” he later gave the material to the FBI “so that those criminals would Justice has to be faced.”
“I wanted to help law enforcement as much as possible that day. I didn’t really think anything of it,” he said.
After flying back to Los Angeles, Ibrahim said, he was stripped of his badge and gun and “fired after being suspended for two months for performance issues.”
“They got it wrong,” he said of his ending. “My brother and I both served in the military. I followed him into federal law enforcement. My sister is a Navy veteran. My mother was at the Pentagon on 9/11.”
“The saddest thing about this,” said Ibrahim, “is that I can no longer serve my country.”
The OIG agent wrote, in a WhatsApp group chat with at least five other law enforcement officers, Ibrahim posted a picture of him standing near barricades that had been pulled over by a mob several minutes ago. The agent also posted video in the chat that showed a woman being fatally shot inside the Capitol, who was being escorted from the building to an ambulance by emergency workers, the agent said.