Near US Capitol, woman arrested for impersonating police officer

Washington: The US Capitol Police have arrested a woman for impersonating a police officer, stopping her at a security checkpoint in place for Wednesday's inauguration.

Near a different security checkpoint, police later arrested a 22-year-old Virginia man who was carrying three high-capacity magazines, 37 rounds of unregistered ammunition and a Glock 22 firearm.

Members of the National Guard stand inside the security fencing at the Capitol ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.Credit:AP

Guy Berry of Gordonsville, Virginia, was walking on the 200 block of Massachusetts Avenue NE just after midnight with a firearm "clearly visible" in a holster, police said.

Officers concluded he was not permitted to carry a handgun in the District of Columbia, police said. He was arrested for carrying a pistol without a licence, possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device and unregistered ammunition.

The areas around the US Capitol and the White House, and much of downtown Washington, are under a strict lockdown following the January 6 breach of the Capitol by a mob trying to overturn President Donald Trump's election defeat.

A valid security credential is needed to enter the unprecedented security zone, which will remain in place through the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday.

The name of the woman who was arrested Saturday was not released. Capitol Police said she was stopped about 8.45am at the checkpoint at First Street and Columbus Circle NE.

She presented what was identified as a military challenge coin, a pocket-size medallion that is typically given out by military commanders, police said. The woman said she was a law enforcement officer. But as she was being questioned, she drove off and was stopped shortly thereafter and placed under arrest, police said.

The woman was charged with false impersonation of a law enforcement officer, failure to obey an officer and fleeing a law enforcement officer. She was taken for evaluation to the DC Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program and later processed at Capitol Police headquarters and then transported to the DC Central Cell Block.

On Friday, a Virginia man who has been working as a private security guard in the area was arrested after law enforcement found at least one firearm and ammunition in his truck as he tried to enter an inauguration security checkpoint.

His security credential was not authorised, according to court documents.

Wesley Allen Beeler, 31, of Front Royal drove his Ford F-150 up to a checkpoint on E Street, north-east of the Capitol, where he was met by Capitol Police officers, according to the court documents.

Beeler was released from custody and ordered not to return to the city except to appear in court or meet with his lawyer.

In an interview, he said he forgot that his firearm was in his truck when he left his home in Virginia, where he said he has a license to carry. He denied that he had the more than 500 rounds of ammunition listed in his arrest report.

"I pulled up to a checkpoint after getting lost in DC because I'm a country boy," he said. "I showed them the inauguration badge that was given to me."

A person with knowledge of Beeler's actions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is pending, said Beeler has no extremist ties, co-operated fully with law enforcement and was cleared from further investigation, except for the charge of violating District law by carrying a pistol without a licence.

The Washington Post

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