The FBI is turning to the public for help identifying members of the mob inciting violence and storming the Capitol building, ransacking offices and looting during a disruption Wednesday of the congressional certification of the Electoral College vote.
“The FBI is seeking to identify individuals instigating violence in Washington, D.C. We are accepting tips and digital media depicting rioting or violence in and around the U.S. Capitol on January 6. If you have information, visit http://fbi.gov/USCapitol,” the agency said in a tweet this morning.
Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern has provided the FBI with a place to start. He tweeted a video from inside the assault on the Capitol. It clearly shows the faces of a cascade of rioters. The video also shows the rioters as they cheer and pass through a door exiting the building.
“Everyone in this video should be found and arrested,” McGovern said in a tweet. In it, he also tagged the FBI, Justice Department and the FBI’s Washington field office.
Violence at the Capitol
Four people died in the chaos that erupted Wednesday. This includes a woman whom the police shot and killed inside the Capitol.
Also, three other people died after suffering “medical emergencies” related to the breach, said Robert Contee, chief of the city’s Metropolitan Police Department.
Additionally, police said they arrested 52 people as of Wednesday night, including 26 on the Capitol grounds. Fourteen police officers also suffered injuries, Contee said.
Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund on Thursday defended his department’s response to the violent breach at the Capitol. He said officers “acted valiantly when faced with thousands of individuals involved in violent riotous actions” as they stormed the building.
Rioters “actively attacked” Capitol police and other law enforcement officers Wednesday with metal pipes, discharged chemical irritants, and took up other weapons against our officers,” Sund said in a statement.
The attack on the Capitol was “unlike any I have ever experienced in my 30 years in law enforcement here in Washington, D.C.,” said Sund, a former city police officer. “Make no mistake: these mass riots were not First Amendment activities; they were criminal riotous behavior. The actions of the USCP officers were heroic given the situation they faced.”
Lawmakers Vow to Take Action
Lawmakers are vowing an investigation into how law enforcement handled Wednesday’s violent breach at the Capitol. They also question whether a lack of preparedness allowed a mob to occupy and vandalize the Capitol building.
Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley called for an investigation by the Oversight Committee to “immediately pursue a full & transparent investigation into today’s terrorist acts & those individuals & agencies who enabled them.”
Both law enforcement and Trump supporters deployed chemical irritants during the hours-long occupation of the complex before they cleared it on Wednesday evening.
Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., a former police chief, described how “painfully obvious” that Capitol police did not prepare “for today. I certainly thought that we would have had a stronger show of force, that there would have been steps taken in the very beginning to make sure that there was a designated area for the protesters in a safe distance from the Capitol.”
In an interview with MSNBC Wednesday night, Demings said it appeared police were woefully understaffed. He added that “it did not seem that they had a clear operational plan to really deal with” thousands of protesters who descended on the Capitol following Trump’s complaints of a “rigged election.”
Trying to Overturn Election Results
Trump, who has spent weeks falsely attacking the integrity of the election, egged on the rioters. He had also urged his supporters to come to Washington to protest Congress’ formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. The protests interrupted those proceedings for nearly seven hours.
The mob broke windows, entered both the Senate and House chambers at the Capitol. It also went into the offices of lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Demings said there were “a lot of unanswered questions and I’m damn determined to get answers to those questions about what went wrong today.”
A police spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment late Wednesday.
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Source: Boston Herald