HOUSTON – A former Houston police officer tried to delete photos that showed him inside the U.S. Capitol during the riot that happened nearly two weeks ago, according to court documents released Tuesday.
According to the documents, Tam Pham, an 18-year veteran of the Houston Police Department, admitted to being in Washington for “business reasons” but denied going to the Capitol after attending a Jan. 6 rally where President Donald Trump spoke.
FBI agents got his consent to review photos on his cellphone and noticed that there were no photos from his trip to Washington, according to the affidavit. Agents then reviewed the deleted folder in his photo album and found photos and videos showing Pham inside the Capitol during the unrest, according to the affidavit.
According to the documents, the agents reminded Pham that it’s a crime to make false statements to them and that is when Pham admitted that he followed the crowd to the Capitol after Trump’s speech, walking over or around several barricades and being inside the Capitol Rotunda for 10 to 15 minutes.
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Images attached to the affidavit appear to show Pham wearing a blue surgical mask while standing next to statues in the Rotunda. He also appears to be wearing no mask while standing next to a blue Trump 2020 flag that had been placed in the arm of a statue of the late former President Gerald Ford.
Pham is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority. He is also charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Pham resigned from HPD on Jan. 14.
The images below were attached to the federal criminal complaint filed against Pham.