A Metropolitan Police Department patrol officer was promoted to sergeant less than two months after the department’s internal affairs bureau began investigating his actions on Jan. 6, the day of the deadly U.S. Capitol siege.
Police spokesman Aden OcampoGomez confirmed Friday that the investigation into the officer, Christopher Cooney, is closed. But the result of the investigation and when it was closed are unknown. OcampoGomez declined to release further details.
The probe was triggered after Cooney changed his profile photo on Facebook to a shot of himself outside the Capitol building on the day a four-hour riot left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer.
It appears to have been taken before the mob broke into the Capitol.
At the time, Steve Grammas, president of the Las Vegas police union, said the officer “had no involvement or engagement in any illegal activity.”
Cooney — whose credibility had previously been called into question during court proceedings in an attempted murder case against his mother — would receive his promotion the following month, on Feb. 20.
In the photo shared by Cooney on Facebook, the officer is wearing a gray baseball cap featuring the logo of SilencerCo, a manufacturer of firearm suppressors. The Capitol, surrounded by a sea of right-wing extremists and supporters of then-President Donald Trump clad in red, white and blue, serves as the backdrop.
The officer did not include a photo caption with his post, but his older brother, Kevin, commented with a meme depicting two characters from the Star Wars universe television show “The Mandalorian.” The meme is captioned “THIS IS THE WAY,” a nod to the main character’s creed to follow his ideals despite the influence of others around him.
But the version of the meme posted by the officer’s brother replaces the face of one of the characters with “Pepe the Frog” — a once-harmless cartoon that has devolved into a hate symbol.
Around 2016, the Anti-Defamation League flagged a subset of the cartoon as a hate symbol after alt-right circles began sharing altered versions of the character depicting racist imagery.
Christopher Cooney joined the department in 2008, according to Metro employment records.
A few years later, his name and details of his home life became the subject of news stories after his mother, Linda, shot his brother in the neck. Kevin Cooney was left partially paralyzed.
The officer took the witness stand in the preliminary hearing and again at his mother’s trial in 2014. And by the end of the trial, both prosecutors and jurors were questioning Christopher Cooney’s credibility.
Prosecutors said Kevin Cooney, who was afraid of his mother, was on the couch of his family’s Summerlin home when his mother shot him with the same gun she had used decades earlier to kill the siblings’ father in Florida. A jury acquitted her in his death thanks in part to testimony from Kevin Cooney, who witnessed the shooting.
But the Cooney brothers told the jury a vastly different story, placing the blame on Kevin Cooney.
After the trial, jurors indicated to prosecutors that they did not believe the brothers’ testimony.
The jury found their mother, 66 at the time, guilty of attempted murder and other charges, but her conviction was overturned three years later by the state Supreme Court, which ruled that jurors should not have been allowed to hear evidence tying the gun to the earlier shooting. A new trial is set to begin later this year.