A pedestrian walks by the Maine State House, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in Augusta, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

The chief of the Maine Capitol Police is apologizing for a series of social media posts that promote the same conspiracy theories that inspired extremists supporting President Donald Trump to storm the U.S. Capitol last week.

Chief Russell Gauvin apologized for Facebook posts mocking the use of masks as a means of preventing the spread of COVID-19, questioning the validity of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and sympathy for the views of a former Maine police officer who called for violence against Black Lives Matter protesters.

The posts, first reported by the Portland alternative magazine Mainer, have since been deleted, as has Gauvin’s account on the all-but-defunct Parler, a social media site that was shut down after it was used to organize and document last week’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

In a statement, Gauvin said the posts were not a reflection of his commitment to protecting the Capitol, saying he “never intended for my social media account to ever bring my commitment to fair and professional law enforcement into question.”

“As Chief of Capitol Police, and as a longtime law enforcement officer, I take seriously my duty to uphold our laws, to do so in a fair and impartial way, and to protect the Capitol and our people,” he said.

In a separate statement, Gov. Janet Mills said the posts were concerning and that Gauvin is under review under existing personnel processes to determine whether he violated state policies.

“Chief Gauvin’s apology is warranted, and he has assured us of his commitment to upholding his duties and responsibilities, regardless of any personal beliefs,” she said.

The Maine Capitol Police generally oversees security of the State House and Capitol complex, but the Maine Department of Public Safety has taken over that duty for the next few days amid concerns that armed far-right extremists might protest Biden’s pending inauguration.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.