Fort Bragg commanders review Captain Emily Rainey’s participation in last week’s events on Capitol Hill.
The US Army is investigating a psychological operations officer who led a group of people from North Carolina to the rally in Washington, DC, which led to the deadly riot in the United States Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Fort Bragg commanders are examining Captain Emily Rainey’s involvement in last week’s events in the nation’s capital, but she said she acted within military regulations and no one in her group violated the law.
“I was a private citizen and I was doing everything right and within my rights,” Rainey told the Associated Press on Sunday.
Rainey said she led 100 members of Moore County Citizens for Freedom, which describes itself online as a non-partisan network promoting conservative values, in Washington, DC, to “stand up against voter fraud” and support Trump.
She said the group attended the rally but did not know anyone who entered the Capitol and they returned to their buses hours before an emergency curfew took effect.
Rainey, 30, is assigned to 4th Psychological Operations Group at Fort Bragg, according to Major Daniel Lessard, a spokesperson for 1st Special Forces Command. Known as PSYOPS, the group uses information and misinformation to shape the emotions, decision-making and actions of American adversaries.
Rainey made headlines in May after posting an online video of his closed playground warning tape under North Carolina’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Trump’s repeated misrepresentation
Police in Southern Pines, a community about 48 kilometers (30 miles) west of Fort Bragg, charged her with personal injury during the incident. Police told WRAL-TV that they had left her with warnings twice before they tore up the tape closing the playground.
In Washington, DC, insurgents stormed the House and Senate chambers on Wednesday, smashed windows and waved Trump, American and Confederate flags.
The riot followed the rally where Trump repeated false claims that the election was rigged against him and said he and his supporters were going to have to “fight much harder” to protect democracy.
So far, at least 90 people have been arrested on charges ranging from violating the curfew to offenses relating to assaults on police officers, possession of illegal weapons and the death threat against Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House and Democratic Representative of California.
Rainey said his group and most of the people who made it to Washington, DC “are peaceful, law-abiding people who do nothing but demonstrate our First Amendment rights.”
Members of the United States military are permitted to take part in organizations and political events without a uniform. However, there are caveats. The Department of Defense (DOD) directive prohibits active duty members from sponsoring partisan organizations.
It is not known whether Rainey’s participation with his band on Wednesday went against DOD policy.
Rainey said she attended Trump’s rally while on leave and did not announce that she was an army officer. She said Sunday afternoon that her commanders did not inquire about her time in Washington, DC, but did not immediately respond to a subsequent investigation into the military investigation.
“I told my bosses before I left that I was going, and I told them when I got back,” she said.