Houston police officer Tam Pham resigns, hires lawyer after attending US Capitol riot

KTRK logo
Friday, January 15, 2021
HPD officer was part of Capitol storm, chief says
An 18-year veteran of the HPD was placed on administrative leave after he was identified as one of the many protesters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Former Houston Police Officer Tam Pham has resigned, a day after being publicly identified as having been at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riots.

Tam Pham, 48, worked for HPD for 18 years and was assigned to Westside Patrol.

Speaking briefly outside his home this afternoon, Pham asked for the privacy of his family to be respected. He then went inside without answering any reporter questions.

Pham was identified by sources as the officer who traveled to Washington on Jan. 6 and "penetrated the Capitol" during the Congressional joint session to certify Joe Biden's electoral win.

He has hired defense attorney Nicole Deborde to represent him in any potential criminal proceedings.

"It was more curiosity to see the President's speech with a large group of people," said Deborde. "He was curious what the President had to say. It's something that spun out of control. He's not an individual who desires to be seen at a violent protest, or an avid Trump supporter willing to stop at nothing to create a change in the election. That's not his goal at all."

RELATED: Houston police officer was part of Capitol storm, chief says

On Wednesday, Acevedo said he contacted the FBI special agent-in-charge of the Houston office after learning about the officer's activities on Sunday. A joint investigation continues into Pham's activities that day.

Deborde confirms that Pham has spoken at length to local FBI agents and "continues to cooperate."

On Thursday, Mayor Sylvester Turner made it clear that public servants in Houston are to be held to a higher standard.

"You can go where you want to go, but when you're a governmental employee. You don't want to be part of any insurgence group when you want to maintain law and order," said Turner. "That was not a wise decision and there is accountability."

During his time with HPD, Pham had no disciplinary problems, according to statements made Wednesday by Acevedo.

Acevedo said he received the tip from a citizen about a Houston police officer seen in images of the Capitol siege. Acevedo said he opened Facebook and found images of the officer, who traveled alone, Acevedo said.

"I can't tell you the anger I feel at the thought of a police officer and other police officers thinking they get to storm the Capitol," he added.

Pham may be the first of others from the Houston area who were believed to be at the Capitol during a rally prior to the siege, though the FBI has refused to provide specifics about local citizens' possible involvement in the violence and breach, citing the ongoing investigation.

"We know a lot of folks went to D.C. out of Houston," Acevedo said.

RELATED: No public access to US Capitol on Inauguration day, as FBI warns of armed protests in all 50 states

Five people died during the ordeal, including a U.S. Capitol police officer.

Chaos at the Capitol: Minute-by-minute video shows how riots, violence unfolded

"Unfortunately, we can now add Jan. 6, 2021 to that very short list of dates in American history that will live forever in infamy," said Sen. Chuck Schumer. See how things escalated in our minute-by-minute video as chaos erupted.
Pierre Thomas has more on a warning from the FBI about possible armed protests planned in all 50 states over the next 10 days.

The FBI has received nearly 45,000 digital media tips that were being reviewed. Dozens of people and/or social media accounts of individuals who made entry into the Capitol had been identified.

The Associated Press and ABC News contributed to this report.