New Yorker reporter’s footage provides ‘clearest view yet’ of Capitol rioters inside Senate chamber
Tim O’Donnell January 17, 2021
Luke Mogelson, a veteran war correspondent and contributing writer for The New Yorker, captured what appears to be the “clearest” footage yet of the deadly riot at the United States Capitol earlier this month.
Mogelson attended (in a journalistic capacity) President Trump’s rally on Jan. 6, which preceded the pro-Trump mob’s march to and breach of the capitol. He followed the rioters into the building and filmed a group that entered the empty Senate chamber. They began taking photos of documents in the room as part of a self-declared “information operation.” One man said he was attempting to find something that he could “use against these scumbags,” while another said he thought Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) “would want us to do this.”
In a later scene, Mogelson witnessed Jake Angeli, otherwise known as Q Shaman, sitting in Vice President Mike Pence’s chair, as a lone Capitol Police officer tried unsuccessfully to get him to move. He also gathered footage from outside the Capitol, including a large crowd aggressively forcing its way into the building, as well as a man telling people around him to “start making a list, put all those names down” and “start hunting them down one by one.”
The New Yorker notes that although the footage was “not originally intended for publication, it documents a historic event and serves as a visceral complement to Mogelson’s probing, illuminating” written feature. Read the full report here and watch the complete footage here.
Shocking footage shows Serbian lake completely covered in garbage
Isabella O’Malley January 12, 2021
While pollution is an omnipresent issue that is impacting essentially every ecosystem on Earth, the problem is not always visible to the naked eye. However, footage of Serbia’s Potpecko Lake depicts a jarring scene — several thousand cubic metres of plastic containers floating on top of the water.
The footage was first published online on January 4, 2021 and environmental activist, Sinisa Lakovic, says that the extent of the plastic pollution is due to decades of accumulating trash at “unsanitary landfills,” as reported by Reuters. Marko Karadzic, a local resident, described the situation to Reuters as “an ecological disaster.”
Several landfills are located upstream from the lake along the Lim River. Potpecko Lake is connected to the waterbody that the dam at the Višegrad Hydroelectric Power Plant uses, and officials are concerned that it could become clogged with garbage.
Serbia’s Environment Minister, Irena Vujovic, said a clean-up would soon commence and stated that several landfalls that contributed to the pollution in Potpecko Lake have been invited to develop a solution that would have long-term benefits.
AQUATIC POLLUTION, NOT JUST AN OCEAN PROBLEM
Images of ocean animals entangled in plastic pollution are the most common impacts that many people think of when considering how the waste we generate impacts aquatic ecosystems. Given that oceans cover more than 70 per cent of Earth’s surface, it is understandable that the spotlight lands on these marine ecosystems, but some experts say that plastic pollution in freshwater lakes and rivers is a topic that is often neglected in research.
A 2019 survey conducted by scientists Martín C. M. Blettler and Karl M. Wantzen reviewed 171 published studies that analyzed animal plastic entanglement and found that over 98 per cent focused solely on oceanic environments. Blettler and Wantzen stated while ocean plastic pollution remains a considerable concern, they emphasize the importance of the limited insight we have about freshwater pollution.
In freshwater environments, researchers have documented an increasing trend of plastic becoming part of birds’ nests, which can reduce the survival rates of both the parents and chicks. Microplastics are also being consumed by fish in growing amounts leading to adverse effects. The researchers say that the effects of plastic pollution in water bodies inland are important to study because the waste that is dumped in lakes and rivers ultimately travels to the oceans.
Deal reached on project to protect lakes from invasive fish
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan, Illinois and a federal agency have agreed on funding the next phase of an initiative to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes by strengthening defenses on a Chicago-area waterway, officials said Thursday.
The two states and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will share pre-construction engineering and design costs for the $858 million project at Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. The structure on the Des Plaines River is a choke point between the Illinois River, which is infested with the invasive carp, and Lake Michigan.
A plan approved by the Corps in 2019 calls for installing a gantlet of technologies to deter approaching fish, including electric barriers and underwater speakers that would blast loud noises, plus an “air bubble curtain.” A specially designed “flushing lock” would wash away carp that might be floating on the water as vessels pass through.
The next step is developing design and engineering specifications, expected to take three to four years and cost about $28.8 million.
Under the new agreement, the Corps will pay $18 million and Michigan $8 million. Illinois will chip in $2.5 million and serve as the “non-federal sponsor” required for such projects.
The federal share of the design and engineering funds still needs to be provided through annual Corps work plans, said Col. Steven M. Sattinger, commander of the Corps’ district office in Rock Island, Illinois.
Both states will collaborate with the Corps as it designs the complex mechanism, which will require thousands of pages of drawings.
Extensive research is still needed for some features, which never have been built to the scale that will be required at Brandon Road, Sattinger said.
“It’s not as easy as it sounds,” he said during an online news conference.
Four species of carp were imported from Asia in the 1960s and 1970s to clear algae from Deep South sewage ponds and fish farms. They escaped into the Mississippi River and have moved north into dozens of tributaries in Middle America.
Government agencies, advocacy groups and others have long debated how to prevent them from reaching the Great Lakes, where scientists say they could out-compete native species for food and habitat. The lakes region has a fishing industry valued at $7 billion.
“If Asian carp invade the Great Lakes, they would have a devastating impact on our fisheries, tourism and outdoor recreation economies, and way of life across the region,” said Marc Smith, policy director for the National Wildlife Federation.
A shipping canal that forms part of the link between the Mississippi and Lake Michigan has a network of fish-repelling barriers, which the Corps says is effective but critics consider inadequate. The Brandon Road project will provide another layer of protection further downstream.
“Long in planning, we’re pleased to finally put these agreements into action, allowing us to move the project to its next steps – planning and design – and, ultimately, construction,” said Colleen Callahan, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Once design is complete, building the system will take six to eight years, Sattinger said.
The deal between states that have sometimes quarreled over how to stop the carp is “a model of partnership that we hope to see more of in the future as we work toward a common goal of securing the health and longevity of our states’ greatest natural resource,” said Molly Flanagan, chief operating officer of the Alliance for the Great Lakes.
Nearly 100 million Chinese people supplied drinking water with ‘unsafe’ levels of toxic chemicals
Drinking water provided to nearly 100 million people in China has levels of toxic chemicals that exceed safe limits, researchers have found.
A team from Tsinghua University monitored the levels of per and polyfluoroalkyls (PFAS) – man-made chemicals used in everything from fabrics to pesticides – using data from previous studies.
By analyzing data from 526 drinking water samples across 66 cities with a total population of 450 million, the study found that the concentration of PFAS in more than 20 per cent of the studied cities – 16 in total – exceeded safe levels.
China has no national safety standards, so the study used the US state of Vermont’s regulations as the benchmark.
A chemical factory is dismantled along the Yangtze River in Yichang City as part of an effort to reduce pollution in the area. Photo: Xinhua alt=A chemical factory is dismantled along the Yangtze River in Yichang City as part of an effort to reduce pollution in the area. Photo: Xinhua
The cities with high levels included Wuxi, Hangzhou and Suzhou in eastern China and Foshan in the southern province of Guangdong. Major cities including Beijing and Shanghai were under the limit.
The study was published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe last Tuesday and was the first comprehensive study reviewing PFAS levels in Chinese drinking water.
In general, eastern, southern and southwest China had higher levels of PFAS compared with other regions.
The mean concentration of PFASs in eastern China was 2.6 times that of the country’s north, which the report’s authors attributed to intensive industrial activity and high population density.
Roland Weber, a co-author of the study and German consultant on persistent organic pollutants, said that some PFAS were more dangerous than others, especially the chemicals known as PFOA and PFOS, which have been linked to a variety of health risks.
“The European Food Safety Agency recently highlighted four PFAS – including PFOA and PFOS – as particularly problematic and set a low tolerable intake limit [the daily amount deemed safe] ,” he said.
The study found extremely high levels of PFOA and PFOS in three Chinese cities in the Yangtze River Basin – Zigong, Jiujiang and Lianyungang – which were attributed to the presence of fluoro-chemical plants and industries that use multiple PFAS, such as leather, textile and paper manufacturing.
Weber said more toxicity assessment needs to be done on the thousands of PFAS in use, because there are still many unknown risks and scientists suggest limiting them to essential uses.
The toxic chemicals can be found in everything from stain-resistant textiles, greaseproof food packaging, firefighting foam, personal care products, pharmaceuticals and pesticides.
“Many PFAS are water soluble and do not degrade possibly for centuries and longer and are therefore called ‘forever chemicals’. If you have contaminated ground water used for irrigation, it will go into your plant, your food and your cattle,” said Weber.
The two toxic chemicals – PFOA and PFOS – do not break down in the human body or environment and can accumulate over time, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
They were listed in the annex of the Stockholm Convention as persistent organic pollutants, or “forever chemicals”, since they are considered to be harmful to health and the environment.
China is now one of the largest manufacturers and consumers of PFAS but it has no guidelines for their presence in drinking water.
But it is a party to the Stockholm Convention, which aims to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic pollutants and is working to phase out the use of PFOS.
But Weber said PFOA had only been listed under the convention in 2019 – a decade after PFOS – and China has not yet ratified this section.
In plans released in June, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment vowed to step up the monitoring of new pollutants in surface water.
Weber added that China needs to analyze drinking water as well as groundwater and contaminated sites to understand the scale of the problem and then draw up plans to tackle it.
“Europe and the United States are facing large challenges with monitoring and controlling PFAS contaminated sites and I think it is now the right time that China is moving forward, making science based limits and then cleaning the drinking water and control emissions from industries and other uses,” he said.
Trump can say he fulfilled that promise, according to information provided to Yahoo Finance by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), establishing one of the more expensive and permanent aspects of his legacy.
“As much as the Trump administration is able to construct is going to be the amount that’s there pretty permanently,” Jessica Bolter, an associate policy analyst for the Migration Policy Institute, told Yahoo Finance. “This is a serious permanent infrastructure project that’s going to remain. And while many of the other actions that Trump has taken on immigration can be rolled back through executive action, this is something that it looks like is not going to be rolled back anytime soon.”
According to the latest CBP data, 453 miles of “new primary and secondary border wall system” were built during Trump’s term — though much of that construction involved replacing “dilapidated of outdate designs” as opposed to building wall where it had not been built previously. Another 211 miles are under construction while 74 miles are in the pre-construction phase.
Overall, the $15-billion initiative was a key promise of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and became a point of contention with Congress — a funding dispute over the border wall led to a 35-day government shutdown in 2018 — and landowners whose properties have been greatly impacted by the construction.
President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to freeze construction of the wall, a move that would save roughly $2.6 billion.
“It’s a gigantic waste of government resources, taking billions of dollars away from other priorities and has zero benefit to the United States,” David Bier, an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, told Yahoo Finance. “The difference between the Trump law and the existing fences that he replaced is the Trump wall is more expensive and that’s pretty much it. It’s certainly more intrusive to the environment and to the landowners and to the residents of the areas in which the border wall is being built as well.”
The wall built under Trump has been incredibly costly, particularly compared to other presidencies.
Between 2007 and 2015, CBP spent a total of $2.4 billion constructing 535 miles of the border wall. Part of the reason for that, she explained, is because Trump’s wall is a taller, more fortified wall being constructed in a lot of areas. Bolter noted that fencing under the GWB administration cost an average of $3.9 million per mile. Under Trump, it averaged about $20 million per mile.
Another reason for the exorbitant cost is that it’s “not clear that building a wall in all of these places was necessary,” Bolter said. “A report from the Department of Homeland Security inspector general found that when CBP was setting its border wall priorities, it didn’t consider alternatives.”
Ohio State University Professor Ken Madsen, who tracks border wall progress, noted that when we “see new fences or walls going in those very rugged areas, it seems to me it really is for show. It’s not really doing anything to stop anybody because very few people were crossing there in the first place.”
Gil Kerlikowske, who served as CBP commissioner during the final three years of the Obama administration, has argued that the money would be “much better invested in technology than barriers.” He noted that much of the cost for the barriers stems from maintenance and repair.
“I mean, it’s really significant,” Kerlikowske told Yahoo Finance. “You have flooding, you have other kinds of damage, people, of course, cutting them. So people shouldn’t look at this just as the cost of this fixed wall or barrier. They should look at the long-term costs. They are going to be replaced over the years, plus maintenance costs, so it’s incredibly expensive.”
The former CBP leader suggested technological alternatives like integrated fixed towers, which have infrared and camera sensors. But according to Bier, the Cato analyst, it’s still just another form of wasted taxpayer money.
“It’s certainly better than taking people’s land but it’s another gigantic sinkhole of government money that you spent billions upon billions, spending more money on technology, whether it’s border journals or surveillance cameras,” Bier said. “Really at the end of the day, you have reports from the OIG, the GAO, the drones and balances are ineffective. That virtual fence they tried to build with the cameras and sensors was useless, a waste of taxpayer money. I don’t support any more money for this effort.”
Biden freezing construction of the wall is just one of the several necessary steps needed to fix this, Bier argued.
“A freeze is better than continuing to waste taxpayer money on something that we’re getting no benefit from,” he said. “But I think that we should go further than that and transfer that land and the structure as well — if the people who own the land want the structure, let them keep it, but it should really be their decision and not the decision of Border Patrol to foist a structure on somebody else’s property.”
‘New’ versus ‘old’ wall
Trump’s CBP claimed that 453 miles of border wall were built since January 2017, though less than 100 miles of the wall is actually new and not replacing outdated structures.
“[Former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security] Chad Wolf and CBP are counting anything as new that’s new construction,” Madsen told Yahoo Finance. “But most people are making a distinction between new versus replacement. There was a wall there before and yes there’s a new wall now, but it’s the same place that’s covered. But then you can even narrow that down more.”
Much of the construction is to replace existing barriers, many of which are old and/or dilapidated in quality.
“Once you distinguish new from replacement, then you have to distinguish if it’s a pedestrian barrier, or replacement pedestrian barrier,” Madsen said. “In other words, is it just a newer model that’s taller, more see-through, more durable, stronger foundation? And then there’s some places where they’re replacing vehicle barriers with pedestrian barriers.”
That makes sense since pedestrian barriers are much more effective at stopping people than vehicle barriers so “that’s quite an upgrade. That’s substantially changing the dynamic. And again, because it’s all new, it’s being counted by CBP as new. I’ve heard the vast majority is replacing barriers that are already there. That’s for sure. So most of what’s being constructed is just replacing what’s already there.”
‘Building a wall will do little to deter criminals’
President-elect Biden has been critical about the border wall, singling out Trump for the wall’s lack of efficiency.
“His obsession with building a wall does nothing to address security challenges while costing taxpayers billions of dollars,” Biden’s immigration plan states, noting that most illegal drugs come through legal points of entry, that asylum seekers are asking for refuge legally, and that nearly half of undocumented immigrants are in the U.S. because they overstayed their visas.
“Building a wall will do little to deter criminals and cartels seeking to exploit our borders,” his plan says. “Instead of stealing resources from schools for military children and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, Biden will direct federal resources to smart border enforcement efforts, like investments in improving screening infrastructure at our ports of entry, that will actually keep America safer.”
Biden’s decision to halt construction of the wall will save billions of dollars, but could still cost roughly $700 million, according to the Washington Post. This is because withdrawing crew, materials, and equipment can be billed as “demobilization fees.”
But, it will come as a relief for those whose lands were seized by the government through eminent domain to be used as part of the border wall. According to the New York Times, the Trump administration brought 78 lawsuits against landowners along the southern border, with 30 of them in 2020.
Despite the havoc along the border soon coming to an end, the project still leaves behind a lasting legacy.
“I think that the border wall is one of the most permanent parts of President Trump’s legacy after he leaves the office,” Bolter said. “President-elect Biden has said that he’s not going to construct any additional border wall, but he’s also said that he’s not going to take down any of the wall that President Trump has built.”
Adriana Belmonte is a reporter and editor covering politics and health care policy for Yahoo Finance. You can follow her on Twitter @adrianambells and reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mikie Sherrill says unidentified lawmakers led ‘reconnaissance’ tours ahead of Capitol attack
Kyle Cheney and Sarah Ferris January 12, 2021
Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) said Tuesday that she witnessed colleagues escorting people through the Capitol on Jan. 5 for what she described as “reconnaissance” ahead of the next day’s violent insurrection that left five dead.
In a 13-minute Facebook video billed as an address to her constituents about the House’s efforts to hold President Donald Trump accountable for inciting the riot, Sherrill included the allegation as part of a call to hold Trump’s allies in Congress accountable as well.
“I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him — those members of Congress who had groups coming through the capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 for reconnaissance for the next day — those members of Congress who incited the violent crowd, those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy, I’m going see that they’re held accountable,” Sherrill said.
Sherrill did not identify the lawmakers she was referring to, how she was able to describe their activities as “reconnaissance” and how she knew they were connected to the riots that consumed the Capitol the following day. She told POLITICO on Wednesday that she’s referred her information to authorities.
“We’re requesting an investigation right now with certain agencies,” she said.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said he’s aware of “a couple” names of colleagues who are being eyed as potentially giving tours to the would-be insurrectionists. But he said he wouldn’t name them yet.
“I’m going to wait to make sure we get verification,” Ryan told a reporter at the Capitol Wednesday.
Ryan said the information was passed to authorities as early as last Wednesday night. He said it involved “handfuls” of people who were escorted through the Capitol. Enough to know that these weren’t “one-on-one” tours or “a small family.”
“You look back on certain things and you look at it differently,” he added.
The startling allegation comes as lawmakers are still seeking answers about the extent of planning and coordination behind the Jan. 6 Trump rally that became the violent assault on the Capitol. Federal investigators say they’re pouring enormous resources into unearthing details of a potential “seditious conspiracy” and that some of the undisclosed evidence about what happened inside the Capitol will be “shocking.”
Some Democrats, like Sherrill, are also calling for punishment for the Republicans who — like Trump — delivered incendiary remarks that preceded the violence at the Capitol, as well as others who joined Trump’s effort to delegitimize the 2020 presidential election.
GOP Reps. Deny Giving ‘Reconnaissance Tours’ to Capitol Rioters
Brittany Bernstein January 13, 2021
Representatives Andy Biggs (R., Ariz.), Mo Brooks (R., Ala.), and Paul Gosar (R., Ariz.) are denying any involvement in organizing last week’s rioting at the U.S. Capitol after a protest organizer claimed he “schemed” with them to put “maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting.”
Right-wing activist Ali Alexander’s claim that he had colluded with the congressmen came in a since-deleted video on Periscope unearthed by the Project on Government Oversight.
He said weeks before the storming of the Capitol that he was planning something big for January 6, the date Congress met to tally the electoral votes and affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
Alexander planned to “change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside,” he said.
Meanwhile, Representative Mikie Sherrill (D., N.J.) on Tuesday claimed she saw members of Congress leading people through the U.S. Capitol on “reconnaissance” tours one day before supporters of President Trump stormed the building, though she did not name the members or explain how she knew she was witnessing a so-called reconnaissance tour.
“We can’t have a democracy if members of Congress are actively helping the president overturn the elections results,” she said. “Not only do I intend to see that the president is removed and never runs for office again and doesn’t have access to classified material, I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him; those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 – a reconnaissance for the next day; those members of Congress that incited this violent crowd; those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy; I’m going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don’t serve in Congress.”
Sherill did not say whether the “groups” were Trump supporters or offer any additional information on the “reconnaissance.”
National Review has reached out to Sherrill for comment.
A spokesman for Biggs told the Washington Post that the congressman had never been in touch with Alexander or other protestors and denied involvement in organizing a rally on January 6.
“Congressman Biggs is not aware of hearing of or meeting Mr. Alexander at any point — let alone working with him to organize some part of a planned protest,” the statement said.
Brooks on Wednesday also denied having any responsibility for the unrest, saying he would not have encouraged any action that could undermine Republican efforts to block the certification of Biden’s victory.
“I take great offense at anyone who suggests I am so politically inexperienced as to want to torpedo my honest and accurate election system effort I spent months fighting on,” Brooks wrote.
However, the Washington Post notes that videos and posts on social media suggest ties between Alexander, who is a felon, and all three congressmen.
Gosar called Alexander “a true patriot” on Twitter and the pair both spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally in Phoenix last month.
At the same event, Alexander played a video message from Biggs, who called him a “friend” and “hero.”
“When it comes to January 6, I will be right down there in the well of the House with my friend from Alabama representative Mo Brooks,” Biggs said in the recording.
A spokesperson for Biggs told CNN that the congressman recorded the video at the request of Gosar’s staff.
While Alexander has expressed regret over the rioting, saying in a video on Periscope that he wishes people had not entered the Capitol or even gone on the steps, ahead of the unrest he seemed to endorse stopping the certification of the votes by any means.
If Democrats stopped an objection from Republicans, “everyone can guess what me and 500,000 others will do to that building,” he wrote on Twitter in December, according to the Daily Beast. “1776 is *always* an option.”
At a rally on the eve of the vote, Alexander led a “Victory or death!” chant.
However, he told the Washington Post that he had “remained peaceful” during the siege and claimed his earlier speeches “mentioned peace” and were being misrepresented.
In a video posted shortly after the Capitol riots on January 6, while Alexander claimed the majority of protestors were peaceful and commended those who did not enter the building, he added, “I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this.”
Capitol rioter caught hitting officer with fire extinguisher in viral video
Blue Telusma January 12, 2021
Simultaneously, the crowd continues to chant ‘USA!’ as chaos ensues all around them.
As the public continues to learn more about the Trump supporters who took over the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday, new footage has emerged that shows a rioter hitting an officer in the head with a fire extinguisher during the melee.
According to theNew York Post, the clip obtained by Storyful shows a sea of MAGA supporters aggressively pushing past a barricade as U.S. Capitol Police tries in futility to keep them corralled on the west side of the building.
“They broke through, it’s on!” one man is heard yelling at the beginning of the video.
You can see a rioter forcefully throwing an officer over the barricade with little no remorse. A few moments later, another rioter is seen hurling a fire extinguisher directly at a group of officers before striking one on the helmet.
Simultaneously, the crowd continues to chant “USA!” as chaos ensues all around them.
“There’s a guy, like, dying over there,” a witness can be heard yelling on the clip. “They’re trying to hold him up.”
It has yet to be confirmed if the man in the video was Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. But two law enforcement sources informed the Associated Press that Sicknick died at a hospital Thursday after being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher. A source has reported that authorities have now launched a probe into Sicknick’s death.
“The entire USCP Department expresses its deepest sympathies to Officer Sicknick’s family and friends on their loss, and mourns the loss of a friend and colleague,” the department said in an official press release which also acknowledges he was injured “while physically engaging with protesters.”
Four other people succumbed to fatal injuries during the siege, including a California woman shot by Capitol Police and three others who experienced medical emergencies.
An inside job?
As we previously reported, last week, a Washington D.C police officer came forward to make stunning allegations about off-duty police officers and even some members of the military being among the rioters who took part in Wednesday’s siege.
“If these people can storm the Capitol building with no regard to punishment, you have to wonder how much they abuse their powers when they put on their uniforms,” the officer making the allegations wrote in a public Facebook post.
He went on to allege that the officers in question covertly flashed their badges and identification cards at on-duty officers as they joined in on the attempt to overrun the U.S. Capitol.
Despite other accounts corroborating this assertion and numerous videos circulating on social media of officers fraternizing with the rioters – at times even stopping to take selfies with them – D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee maintained that the department was unprepared for the violence.
Thursday, Contee said in a press conference that there was “no intelligence that suggested there would be a breach of the U.S. Capitol.”
‘They Got a Officer!’: How a Mob Dragged and Beat Police at the Capitol
Evan Hill, Arielle Ray and Dahlia Kozlowsky January 12, 2021
The Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol building by a pro-Trump mob left a police officer and a rioter dead. More than 50 members of the U.S. Capitol Police were injured, including 15 who required hospitalization, most of them with head wounds, according to Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.
Of all the scenes of violence, one of the most intense occurred during a struggle to breach a west-side door, during which multiple rioters dragged police officers out of a formation and assaulted them while they were trapped in the crowd.
There was widespread speculation on social media that one of the officers was Brian Sicknick — the U.S. Capitol Police officer who died after being hit in the head by a rioter wielding a fire extinguisher. But videos show the officers involved in this incident were members of the Metropolitan Police Department.
Here’s how the assault happened.
Shortly after 2 p.m., the mob on the Capitol’s west side forced its way through the final, thinly defended police barricades and reached the building’s walls.
Hundreds of rioters swarmed toward a west-side doorway that’s traditionally used when presidents emerge for their inauguration ceremonies.
They surged into the doorway, and an hourslong fight to breach the Capitol began.
Not long after the start of the struggle, rioters were captured on video pulling a Metropolitan Police officer down the stairs. In a video, some rioters can be heard urging others not to hurt him.
News photographers on the scene captured images of the officer caught in the crowd, which began chanting “police stand down!”
The mob pulled the officer away, and rioters continued to try to force their way past the police defending the doorway.
They climbed on top of each other to attack the officers with stolen Capitol Police shields, sticks and poles.
During a brief lull, some rioters appeared to give up and retreat down the stairway.
But a new group lunged toward the police and started a new attack. At the front of the mob, they exchanged blows with the police and struck officers with hockey sticks, crutches and flags. Some rioters shouted “Push! Push!”
One of the attackers, a man wearing a white and blue hat and a green jacket, reached into the doorway, grabbed an officer and dragged him out, aided by a man in a gray hooded sweatshirt.
As they pulled the officer down the stairs, face down, another rioter beat him with an American flag as the mob chanted “USA! USA! USA!”
Seconds later, two other men — one wearing a red hat and tactical vest bearing a “sheriff” patch — began yanking the legs of another officer who had fallen to the ground.
With the aid of a third man in a gray jacket, they pulled the officer down the steps as well. One rioter appeared to punch him while he was on the ground.
One of the two dragged officers can be seen in another video standing up before being mobbed and punched.
Some rioters called on others not to hurt him as the mob led him away.
The Times sent an image to the Metropolitan Police Department of one of the officers whose helmet number is clearly visible on video. Dustin Sternbeck, a spokespeson for the department, said he did not want to try to identify the officer because many may have put on other officers’ helmets.
Sternbeck said he hoped more officers would be able to share their stories with the public soon. “They just feel beaten up,” Sternbeck said.
At least three of the individuals who can be seen dragging the officers in the videos match images included on a Metropolitan Police list of “persons of interest.”
They are suspected of assaulting police officers and could face federal charges.
‘Stop the Steal’ Organizer Says Several GOP Congressmen Helped Plan the Rally
Alex Montrose January 12, 2021
Image via Getty
One lead organizer of last week’s “Stop the Steal” rally that morphed into an attack against the U.S. Capitol claims that GOP congressmen Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona, and congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama all participated in planning of the Jan. 6 catastrophe.
As CNN points out, Arizona resident and pro-Trump activist Ali Alexander implicated the three members of the House of Representatives during a December livestream on Periscope, where he told followers the four of them had been “planning something big.”
“I’m the guy who came up with the idea of January 6 when I was talking with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Andy Biggs, and Congressman Mo Brooks. So we’re the four guys who came up with a January 6 event — #DoNotCertify — and it was to build momentum and pressure, and then on the day change hearts and minds of congresspeoples who weren’t yet decided, or saw everyone outside and said, ‘I can’t be on the other side of that mob,’” Alexander said in a livestream on Dec. 29.
Biggs, who is chair of the House Freedom Caucus, denied associating with Alexander.
“Congressman Biggs is not aware of hearing of or meeting Mr. Alexander at any point — let alone working with him to organize some part of a planned protest,” his spokesperson told CNN. “He did not have any contact with protestors or rioters, nor did he ever encourage or foster the rally or protests. He was focused on his research and arguments to work within the confines of the law and established precedent to restore integrity to our elections, and to ensure that all Americans — regardless of party affiliation — can again have complete trust in our elections systems.”
The Arizona Republican Party, which Gosar and Biggs belong to, faced backlash last month after promoting one of Alexander’s tweets and asking republicans if they were willing to die to overturn the legitimate outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
Since the violent riot that resulted in five deaths, Alexander’s social media accounts have been suspended by social media platforms across the board.
Following the attack, democratic House members pushed to have republicans involved in the Wednesday riot removed from office, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and newly-elected Cori Bush.
“I believe the Republican members of Congress who have incited this domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election must face consequences,” Bush wrote introducing a bill that would expel members like Gosar, Biggs, and Brooks. “They have broken their sacred Oath of Office.”