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Tag: capitol police

Capitol Police Officer Slams Pence For Downplaying January 6

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

A U.S. Capitol Police officer is laying out his grievances about the lenient sentences riot suspects are facing for their participation in the January 6 insurrection.

Speaking to NPR.org, U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell described the scene he faced with on January 6 while stationed on the west entrance to the Capitol.

According to Gonell, the scene was similar to a "medieval battleground." He also made it clear that he believes the sentences are not harsh enough considering the trauma inflicted by Capitol rioters on him and other members of law enforcement.

"Their jail time is less than my recovery time," said Gonell, who is still recovering from a shoulder injury. "The charges they're getting do not compare to the mental and physical injuries some of the police officers, including myself, got."

On Twitter, Gonell was critical of former Vice President Mike Pence, who has downplayed the attack that targeted him:



But despite the trauma he endured, he also said that he would do it again if he had to.

"It's mind-boggling to hear some of the things that are coming from some of these elected officials Gonell said. "But at the end of the day, our job is to make them safe and make their work environment safer, regardless of our opinion or political affiliation."

As a result of all that transpired on January 6, several hundred individuals were arrested for storming the Capitol. Even now, Gonnell has admitted how difficult it is to see the lawmakers who supported their efforts.


Capitol Rioter Who Brought Gun On January 6 Said He Was Hunting Pelosi

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham and others on the far-right have been accusing Democrats of exaggerating the violence that occurred when Donald Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6. And they have dismissed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's January 6 select committee as overblown political theater. But according to Politico, 56-year-old Indiana resident Mark Mazza — one of the defendants charged with bringing a gun to the Capitol that day — has implied to investigators that he would have committed violence against Pelosi had he been able to get to her.

Politico's Kyle Cheney reports, "An Indiana man charged with carrying a loaded firearm to the Capitol on January 6 told investigators that if he had found Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 'you'd be here for another reason,' according to court documents posted over the weekend. Mark Mazza, 56, is the latest of about half a dozen January 6 defendants charged with bringing a gun to the Capitol. In this case, Mazza allegedly carried a Taurus revolver known as 'The Judge,' which is capable of firing shotgun shells — two of which were in the chamber, along with three hollow-point bullets. A Capitol Police sergeant obtained the weapon after allegedly fending off an assault from Mazza."

On March 29, according to Cheney, two investigators from the Capitol Police went to Mazza's home in Shelbyville, Indiana, where he told them, "I thought Nan and I would hit it off. I was glad I didn't because you'd be here for another reason. And I told my kids that if they show up, I'm surrendering. Nope, they can have me, because I may go down a hero."

Former President Trump has tried to paint the Capitol rioters as largely nonviolent, but Cheney points out that in fact, a variety of things were used as weapons on January 6.

"The mounting evidence has undercut claims by former President Donald Trump and his allies that the mob attacking the Capitol was unarmed," Cheney notes. "In addition to the growing number of firearms authorities suspect were carried onto Capitol grounds, rioters brought knives, axes, batons, tasers, bats, poles and even a crutch and hockey stick. Others stole police shields and used metal barricades and furniture as makeshift weapons. But Mazza's case is the most clear-cut yet of a loaded firearm on Capitol grounds that day."

Cheney continues, "Prosecutors obtained the gun from the alleged assailant himself and used its serial number to trace it back to him. They located Mazza after learning that on January 8, Mazza himself reported the gun stolen to local authorities. He told the Shelbyville police that it was taken from his car on January 5 while he was driving through Ohio. Mazza's report was entered into a national database, which Capitol Police accessed as they attempted to find the gun's owner."

'Red Flags Everywhere': New Report Shows FBI, DHS Ignored January 6 Warnings

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

A new report from the Washington Post published on Sunday detailed a deep dive into the extensive warnings the federal government received of potential violence and efforts to interfere with Congress's counting of the Electoral College votes on January 6. Despite this ample foreshadowing, the administration and law enforcement agencies were still unable or unwilling to prepare adequate defenses to keep the mob from storming the Capitol that day.

The FBI, in particular, comes off looking inept — if not driven by politically inspired cowardice or indifference.

"The FBI received numerous warnings about January 6 but felt many of the threatening statements were 'aspirational' and could not be pursued," the report found. "In one tip on December 20, a caller told the bureau that Trump supporters were making plans online for violence against lawmakers in Washington, including a threat against Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah). The agency concluded the information did not merit further investigation and closed the case within 48 hours."

Donell Harvin, the head of intelligence at the homeland security office in Washington, D.C., did raise the alarm, according to the report. It explained how he "organized an unusual call for all of the nation's regional homeland security offices" — a call joined by hundreds of officials sharing their concerns. They were reportedly warning of an attack on January 6 at 1 p.m. at the U.S. Capitol, just when the insurrection occurred. The planning was happening all over social media, after all — inspired by then-President Donald Trump's own tweets and rhetoric. Harvin reached out to the FBI and other agencies to warn them of what was coming, the report found.

He feared a "mass casualty event," according to the Post.

"While the public may have been surprised by what happened on January 6, the makings of the insurrection had been spotted at every level, from one side of the country to the other," it said. "The red flags were everywhere."

Despite specific warnings of the exact nature of the attack that was coming — the planning of which would certainly be illegal — it appears the FBI limited itself for fear of infringing on First Amendment-protected activity. The Post also suggested that FBI Director Christopher Wray, who was often under fire from Trump, feared angering the man who appointed him by speaking out about the potential for violence.

"The FBI chief wasn't looking for any more confrontations with the president," the Post found, citing current and former law enforcement officials.

Wray remains in his position to this day.

Meanwhile, the Post reported, the Department of Homeland Security did not put out a security bulletin to alert other agencies of the dangers, despite receiving, "sobering assessments of the risk of possible violence on January 6, including that federal buildings could be targeted by protesters."

As has previously been reported, officials in the U.S. Capitol Police were aware of at least some of the danger posed by Trump supporters still angry about the election in the run-up to January 6. These warnings, however, didn't make it to Chief Steven Sund, and he failed to effectively coordinate with the National Guard to get protection for the Capitol. The Capitol Police itself was woefully under-prepared for the assault, as has been widely reported. Sund resigned following the attack, one of the few officials to face real accountability for the failures that led up to that day.


Capitol Police Officer Arrested For Aiding January 6 Rioter

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

On Friday, U.S. Capitol Police officer Michael A. Riley was arrested and indicted on obstruction of justice charges connected to the January 6 insurrection. The Associated Press reports that the 50-year-old Riley is accused of "tipping off someone who participated in the riot by telling them to remove posts from Facebook that had showed the person inside the Capitol."

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Whistleblower Slams Capitol Police Leaders for Jan. 6 'Failures' — And Alleged Lies

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Nine months have passed since the January 6 insurrection, and new reporting continues to emerge about that event. According to NBC News reporters Julie Tsirkin and Teaganne Finn, a Capitol Police whistleblower recently sent a letter to members of Congress "accusing the agency's two senior leaders of mishandling intelligence surrounding the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol."

Tsirkin and Finn report, "In the letter, obtained by NBC News, the whistleblower accused Sean Gallagher, the USCP's acting chief of uniformed operations, and Yogananda Pittman, its assistant chief of police for protective and intelligence operations, of significant 'failures' in the lead-up to and aftermath of the attack. The whistleblower accused Gallagher and Pittman of failing to take appropriate action 'which directly contributed to the deaths and wounding of officers and civilians.'"

The letter was addressed to a combination of Democrats and Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Tsirkin and Finn report that in response to the letter, USCP wrote, "Although there is more work to do, many of the problems described in the letter have been addressed. USCP leaders, under new Chief Tom Manger, are committed to learning from prior mistakes and protecting our brave officers, who fought valiantly on January 6, so we can continue to carry out the Department's critical mission."

The whistleblower's criticism of Capitol Police leadership had previously been reported in Politico.

On October 8, Daniel Lippman and Betsy Woodruff Swan of Politico reported, "The whistleblower accused Gallagher and Pittman of failing to take appropriate action 'which directly contributed to the deaths and wounding of officers and civilians.' They also accused Pittman, who was the agency's acting chief from January 6 to July 23, of lying to Congress about having sent 'the single most critical' intelligence report to other USCP staff the day before the attack. The whistleblower said the report was never shared."

According to Lippman and Swan, "The whistleblower accuses Gallagher and Pittman of deliberately choosing not to help officers under attack on January 6 and alleges that Pittman lied to Congress about an intelligence report Capitol Police received before that day's riot. After a lengthy career in the department, the whistleblower was a senior official on duty on January 6.

White Supremacist Arrested With Bayonet And Machete Outside DNC Building

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Capitol Police on Monday announced they arrested a 44-year-old Californian man outside the Democratic National Committee's headquarters in Washington, D.C., after he was found to be in possession of a machete and bayonet — both of which are illegal to possess in the District of Columbia.

Capitol Police pulled over Donald Craighead after noticing his vehicle did not have a license plate, but instead had a picture of an American flag where the license plate should be. It was then that they observed the bayonet and machete and subsequently arrested him for possession of prohibited weapons.

Craighead's car was decorated with white supremacist imagery — including a swastika — and he espoused white supremacist views as he responded to police officers.

This is the latest incident to occur near the Capitol following the January 6 insurrection, during which a mob of Donald Trump supporters violently broke into the building to stop the certification of President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.

In August, a man was arrested across the street from the Capitol after he threatened to blow up the building unless Biden resigned, parroting lies from Trump and other Republicans that the 2020 election was stolen.

The latest arrest comes as the Capitol and surrounding area are on high alert, with supporters of the insurrectionists arrested on January 6 planning a rally on September 18.

CNN reported that law enforcement officials are bracing for violence at the so-called "Justice for J6" rally, which is organized by former Trump campaign aide Matt Braynard.

The DNC headquarters is steps away from House office buildings on the Capitol complex.

The building was targeted on the day of the January 6 insurrection, as was the Republican National Committee's headquarters, which is even closer to the House-side office buildings. Police found pipe bombs near both buildings.

Police have still not found the suspect behind the placement of those explosive devices. The FBI released footage last week of someone they think is the person who planted the explosive devices.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Capitol Rioters’ Own Footage Powers ​New York Times​ ‘Day Of Rage’ Report

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

While some professional journalists faced hostility and attack while covering the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, the grand irony is that so many people involved in the insurrection were doing their jobs for them.

That's evident with The New York Times' release of "Day of Rage," a 40-minute video investigation that painstakingly examines the events of the day. The Times' team collected thousands of videos, starting the afternoon of January 6, many of them posted on social media by the rioters themselves, said Malachy Browne, senior producer on the Times' visual investigations team.

"As the realization set in among many of the participants about what they had done, and the implications of it, much of it was deleted," Browne said.

Too late. The Times had already protected its own copies.

The day had been tough for some of the journalists who covered the attack. Photojournalists for The Associated Press and Times were roughed up, and some AP equipment used to document the event was damaged.

In "Day of Rage," the newspaper used the collected footage, as well as other material like police bodycam film and archived audio from police communications, to recreate the event from many angles. Through the use of time stamps and knowledge of where people were located, for example, the Times tracked down footage from a freelance videographer who hadn't realized he had captured the attack that led to Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick's death, Browne said. Sicknick collapsed and later died after engaging with the protesters. He was sprayed with chemical irritants, but a medical examiner determined he died of natural causes.

The Times was able to determine that rioters breached the Capitol at eight separate locations.

Elsewhere, the footage laid bare the intent of many rioters, like when former President Donald Trump's speech at the pre-riot rally were juxtaposed with what was said in his audience as he spoke.

The Times' probe concludes that the House's delay in shutting off debate on election certification until rioters had appeared outside the chamber contributed to the shooting by police of Ashli Babbitt, a California woman who had joined the crowd that breached the building.

The project depicts law enforcement as overwhelmed, partly due to lack of preparation by their superiors. The footage, some of it seen in other venues over the past months, contains startling moments: a police officer goading a rioter to move in one direction while senators slip to safety in the background, a House employee barricaded in an office whispering to a colleague while a door is being pounded from the outside.

While the footage spots efforts by members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, showing their body armor, weapons, radio communication and organized movements, the Times concludes that the majority of rioters were Trump supporters caught up in the frenzy of the action.

"For many in the crowd, they felt they were carrying out some duty to defend democracy as they see it," Browne said.

The Times' story had nine bylines, but Browne estimated some 15 to 20 journalists participated in its preparation. Even before the documentary's release late Wednesday, the findings contributed to the newspaper's reporting about the incident over the past few months.

Browne, who also narrates the video, minces no words in telling viewers what was concluded.

"Our reconstruction shows the Capitol riot for what it was — a violent assault, encouraged by the president, on a seat of democracy that he vowed to protect," he says in the documentary.

The film also shows a congressman likening the rioters to tourists. "A tourist visit this was not," Browne narrates, "and the proof is in the footage."

The Times' investigation could take on added importance given the stalled government effort to thoroughly investigate what happened that day.

"I think recent events have made a presentation like this more valuable," he said. "Maybe it will create pressure for the investigation. I don't know. Our intention is not to influence policy or politicians, but to really show the public what happened in the fullest way possible."

GOP Rep. Clyde Wouldn't Shake Hand Of Police Officer Who Defended Capitol

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone was one of 140 law enforcement officers injured protecting the U.S. Capitol and members of Congress on January 6. He was so badly beaten he suffered a heart attack fighting Trump's insurrectionists but he was conscious enough to hear at one point the rioters scream, "Kill him with his own gun!"

On Wednesday, one day after 21 House Republicans voted against a bill to award Congressional gold medals to all the police officers who fought to save lives and democracy on January 6, Officer Fanone was in the U.S. Capitol, and ran into Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA).

Congressman Clyde, who sits on the Homeland Security Committee and is one of the 21 who voted against the awards, refused to even shake Officer Fanone's hand.

Clyde is the lawmaker who falsely compared the rioters and insurrectionists to a "normal tourist visit."

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) took to Twitter to make the accusation, which was backed up by Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican.

Here's video of Officer Fanone being attacked by Trump's insurrectionists:

Here's Congressman Clyde literally barricading the door on Jan. 6, with members of the Capitol Hill Police:

Here's Clyde outright lying: