Sara Carpenter, age 51, voluntarily surrendered herself to the FBI on Tuesday, March 23, making her the latest law enforcement officer to be implicated for participating at the insurrection that left five people, including a Capitol police officer, dead.
In January, Carpenter told FBI investigators that she decided to head to the Capitol with hundreds others after hearing then-President Donald Trump’s instructions to “march to the Capitol," authorities said.
After turning herself in, Carpenter was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Carpenter came to the attention of the FBI the day after the riot, when a tipster alerted investigators that she called a relative to boast that she was inside the Capitol and had been tear-gassed during the invasion.
The tipster was able to provide the FBI with Carpenter’s address in Queens, and the former NYPD officer initially spoke with agents on Monday, Jan. 18.
According to Carpenter, she “went to the rally where Trump’s Twitter page has instructed all supporters to hear about the election fraud” before participating in the riot."
Prosecutors said that Carpenter stated that she began to walk with a large group of people toward the Capitol at approximately 1 p.m., entering the Rotunda of the Capitol, where she “observed other individuals walking around and leaving with items.”
Carpenter told FBI agents, “she heard President Trump’s words on the jumbo televisions and speakers instructing people to rally back, not leave, and march to the Capitol."
In photos taken from the scene, she can be seen waving a tambourine among a crowd of rioters.
"Carpenter told FBI agents that she observed police yelling for individuals to get out, then pushing and shoving the crowd,” it is alleged. “Carpenter stated she was trampled and pepper sprayed as she exited the Capitol building.”
During the investigation, Carpenter has been cooperative with FBI agents, including a text message she sent from the riots that had a video she took while inside the Capitol. She also provided the tambourine and the clothes she wore in the Capitol.
Following her initial court appearance in Brooklyn federal court, Carpenter was released. A judge said that her travel is now limited to New York City and Long Island, unless it is to visit Washington for court appearances. Carpenter also turned over her passport to the FBI when she surrendered.
Carpenter retired from the NYPD in 2004 after 10 years on the job. In the 1990s, she worked as a spokesperson for the department.
A current spokesperson for the NYPD said that they have “worked closely with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force culminating with the arrest of Sara Carpenter.”
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