USA TO­DAY in­ves­ti­gates:

Analysis looks at how ri­ot­ers over­whelmed bar­ri­cades, po­lice

- Cara Kelly, Daphne Duret, Ra­mon Padilla, Erin Mans­field, Stephen Beard and Jayme Fraser Crime · U.S. News · United States of America · United States Army · Donald Trump · White House · Electoral college · U.S. Electoral College · United States Department of Defense · Pentagon · Arizona · City University of New York · City University of New York · New York University · New York · Google · Apple Inc · Facebook · Arizona State University · Virginia · Washington · Muriel Bowser · Air National Guard · Brazilian Army · National Park Service · US Military Academy · United States Senate · California · U.S. Supreme Court · Independence · Chapman · Cherry · Chuck Hagel · Andrews, SC

How po­lice lost con­trol of the Capi­tol, and an­tifa con­spir­acy the­o­ries ended up be­ing em­braced by Congress mem­bers.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was still in the midst of an in­cen­di­ary speech out­side the White House last Wed­nes­day when some of his sup­port­ers be­gan milling around the front of the U.S. Capi­tol a mile and a half away.

More fol­lowed in waves, their ranks soon mul­ti­ply­ing into an an­gry crowd of thou­sands who felled the tem­po­rary perime­ter fenc­ing as if it were made of tooth­picks and charged to­ward the mar­bled fa­cade.

Over the next 60 min­utes, the Capi­tol Po­lice would fail mis­er­ably at its most ba­sic job: pre­vent­ing ri­ot­ers from get­ting in­side the build­ing and dis­rupt­ing the con­gress­men and women set to con­firm the votes of the Elec­toral Col­lege.

De­ci­sions made long be­fore the chaos cast the die for law en­force­ment’s fail­ures, which played out in sev­eral crit­i­cal mo­ments cap­tured in so­cial me­dia videos and news cov­er­age.

Of­fi­cers were over­whelmed, their shields ripped from their hands and used against them. They held a line with fenc­ing and their bod­ies, only to have it breached. They were cor­nered, brawled with civil­ians and ended up blood­ied. Their he­si­tancy to use lethal force – whether by de­sign or de­ci­sions made on the fly – was ex­ploited by streams of jeer­ing ri­ot­ers who made their way into the halls of the leg­is­la­ture, where they de­stroyed fed­eral prop­erty and ran­sacked law­mak­ers’ of­fices.

A call for help to the many nearby po­lice forces did not go out un­til 2 p.m. By then, the ri­ot­ers had breached gates around the perime­ter; the Capi­tol Po­lice had evac­u­ated the build­ing; and po­lice were deep in hand-to-hand com­bat.

USA TO­DAY an­a­lyzed hours of footage from re­porters and po­lice scan­ner au­dio, as well as livestream­s and videos posted to so­cial me­dia. Cou­pled with time­lines re­leased by the Pen­tagon and in­for­ma­tion re­quests to a half-dozen agen­cies, the chain of events raise a ba­sic ques­tion: How did Capi­tol Po­lice lose the Capi­tol?

When the en­tire story emerges in the com­ing weeks and months, law en­force­ment ex­perts who re­viewed that footage for USA TO­DAY say a reck­on­ing may be painful for the forces that al­lowed the Capi­tol to be breached for the first time since 1814.

“They’ll have to ad­mit one of two things: Ei­ther they’ll have to say that they can’t pro­tect the Capi­tol, or they’ll have to ad­mit that they gave cer­tain peo­ple pref­er­en­tial treat­ment be­cause

“Once they en­gage in phys­i­cal force th­ese are no longer pro­test­ers, th­ese are ri­ot­ers. And your plan needs to be in place.”

Lon Bar­tel

Train­ing direc­tor for the Ari­zona-based po­lice train­ing sim­u­la­tor com­pany VirTra

they didn’t view them as threats,” said Christo­pher Chap­man, a crim­i­nol­ogy pro­fes­sor at the City Uni­ver­sity of New York who spent nearly two decades train­ing state and fed­eral po­lice of­fi­cers. “And con­sid­er­ing we have the most well-trained po­lice force in the world, I doubt it’s the first.”

Shortly af­ter noon, the White House lawn

Nearly half­way into his ram­bling re­marks brim­ming with lies about a stolen elec­tion, Trump called on the thou­sands span­ning the grassy White House El­lipse to walk to the Capi­tol.

“We’re go­ing to cheer on our brave se­na­tors and con­gress­men and women and we’re prob­a­bly not go­ing to be cheer­ing so much for some of them – be­cause you will never take back our coun­try with weak­ness,” the pres­i­dent said.

Within min­utes, peo­ple were tweet­ing about it from the scene. “Pres­i­dent Trump just an­nounced he will lead his tens of thou­sands of sup­port­ers in a march on the Capi­tol af­ter the speech!!! Best Pres­i­dent, EVER,” said one.

Many of his ar­dent sup­port­ers didn’t need that fi­nal di­rec­tive based on ev­i­dence on the ground and in­for­ma­tion that had been widely avail­able to law en­force­ment – and the pub­lic – for days.

A few hun­dred sup­port­ers were al­ready up against the out­er­most de­fen

sive fence en­cir­cling the Capi­tol com­plex as Trump spoke, many of them wear­ing fa­tigues and shout­ing into bull­horns. About two dozen Capi­tol Po­lice of­fi­cers ap­pear in videos sta­tioned be­hind th­ese outer gates, spaced apart, wear­ing no riot gear.

Much of the crowd had openly planned their at­ten­dance on so­cial me­dia sites like Par­ler, banned by both Google and Ap­ple in the af­ter­math of the at­tack. On Face­book, which later banned Trump, com­ments about “oc­cupy” the Capi­tol had cropped up, too.

“Every­body knew this was go­ing to hap­pen, even my friends who are pho­to­jour­nal­ists said they heard peo­ple say­ing ‘ We’re go­ing to storm the Capi­tol,’ ” said Jon Fa­rina, a free­lance videog­ra­pher who cov­ered the events for the left­lean­ing Sta­tus Coup site. Fa­rina was so sure of it he left the White House event early to head to the Capi­tol for a good van­tage point. He wit­nessed some of the first breaches.

The most cru­cial mis­steps oc­curred in the days lead­ing up to the ri­ots, ex­perts said.

With ex­pected vi­o­lence no se­cret, Capi­tol Po­lice should have en­acted what those in the law en­force­ment in­dus­try call a graded re­sponse plan, said crim­i­nol­ogy pro­fes­sor Ed Maguire. The plan, which should have been well-re­hearsed ahead of Wed­nes­day, would have al­lowed po­lice to keep the of­fi­cers with pro­tec­tive gear out of sight ini­tially while en­sur­ing they were ready to in­stantly and seam­lessly move to the front lines at the first hint of vi­o­lence.

“That did not hap­pen here,” said Maguire, direc­tor of the Pub­lic Safety Innovation lab at Ari­zona State Uni­ver­sity. “As far as why it did not hap­pen, I am not sure.”

Mon­i­tor­ing so­cial me­dia sites where th­ese plans were dis­cussed is rou­tine mod­ern-day po­lice work, too. Even medium-sized agen­cies spend hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars on equip­ment to gather on­line ev­i­dence.

Ac­tivists have long pushed back, ac­cus­ing law en­force­ment of spy­ing on them via cell­phone tower sim­u­la­tors, com­monly known as “stingrays,” dur­ing protests. Con­cern about in­flam­ing that de­bate could have been one fac­tor on Wed­nes­day, ex­perts say. An­other the re­quire­ment for a search war­rant.

“What would you tell the judge? We an­tic­i­pate they’re go­ing to try to break into the Capi­tol Build­ing and do what? Make cit­i­zen’s ar­rests? Take hostages?” asked Michael Cherry, pres­i­dent of Cherry Bio­met­rics, a Vir­ginia-based cell phone track­ing firm. “Be­fore last week, is a judge go­ing to buy that?”

Law en­force­ment did not have to try that hard to fig­ure things out, though, as for­mer De­fense Sec­re­tary Chuck Hagel warned in an in­ter­view with USA TO­DAY two days be­fore the siege.

“You didn’t even need to see any clas­si­fied in­tel­li­gence,” Hagel said. “All you need to do is read the news and lis­ten to tele­vi­sion or ra­dio and hear what Pres­i­dent Trump was say­ing.”

At first, re­in­force­ments did seem to be lin­ing up, as of­fi­cials re­sponded to the evolv­ing sit­u­a­tion.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser sought as­sis­tance from the D.C. Na­tional Guard on Dec. 31, ac­cord­ing to a time­line re­leased by the Pen­tagon. On Sun­day, Jan. 3, the plan was pre­sented to the pres­i­dent – and ap­proved.

The next day, the dis­trict’s Na­tional Guard was ac­ti­vated – but largely to make traf­fic stops and guard Metro sta­tions away from the Capi­tol, along with a quick re­ac­tion force of 40 stand­ing by at Joint Base An­drews.

Yet, the Na­tional Park Ser­vice is­sued an amended per­mit that same day to the Women for Amer­ica First, which or­ga­nized the “March for Trump,” in­creas­ing the ex­pected par­tic­i­pants six­fold, from 5,000 to 30,000.

That was Jan. 4, the day the Sec­re­tary of the Army also con­firmed that Capi­tol Po­lice had no need for ad­di­tional help from the De­part­ment of De­fense, the Pen­tagon time­line shows.

For­mer Capi­tol Po­lice Chief Steven Sund said that, like Bowser, he also had re­quested that the Na­tional Guard be placed on standby only to be thwarted by his bosses.

Sund, who re­signed his post the day af­ter the riot, told The Washington Post that the House and Se­nate sergeants at arms, both of whom also have re­signed, told him they were not com­fort­able with the op­tics of declar­ing an emer­gency days be­fore the protest. In­stead, Sund said they sug­gested he should in­for­mally ask Guard of­fi­cials to be on alert.

The Pen­tagon has in­sisted that there was no re­quest for them to have Guards­men at the ready as part of a riot con­tin­gency plan.

With­out many more of­fi­cers in place or read­ily avail­able to head a dis­tress call, ex­perts say that even if Capi­tol Po­lice had called for backup at the mo­ment Trump urged demon­stra­tors to march to the Capi­tol, it would have been too late.

“Once they en­gage in phys­i­cal force th­ese are no longer pro­test­ers, th­ese are ri­ot­ers,” said Lon Bar­tel, train­ing direc­tor for the Ari­zona-based po­lice train­ing sim­u­la­tor com­pany VirTra. “And your plan needs to be in place.”

The Capi­tol perime­ter falls; 12:50 p.m.

That crit­i­cal shift – when a crowd morphs from pro­test­ers to vi­o­lent mob – can come in an in­stant. At the Capi­tol last Wed­nes­day, it hap­pened a lit­tle be­fore 1 p.m., just as Congress be­gan its joint ses­sion.

On the west side of the Capi­tol, Trump sup­port­ers cut through a mesh fence and sur­round­ing the lawn and hopped a con­crete wall, part of mul­ti­ple tem­po­rary con­cen­tric perime­ters put up by law en­force­ment. Perched atop the wall, a woman in a red Make Amer­ica Great Again cap, with a Cal­i­for­nia flag draped around her shoul­ders, screamed “Pa­tri­ots, go!” into a bull­horn like an overzeal­ous band leader.

Roughly a dozen yards away, a crowd chant­ing “USA” over­pow­ered a half­dozen of­fi­cers as one of­fi­cer tried, in vain, to sucker punch a man who was tip­ping over metal gates.

Po­lice turn to run, work­ing to stay ahead of ri­ot­ers who be­gin to rush the Capi­tol.

Ri­ot­ers quickly dis­pensed with the metal bar­ri­cades; some in flak jack­ets chanted “this is our house.”

Po­lice re­treated to yet an­other line of gates, feet from where a stage and scaf­fold­ing had been erected for the up­com­ing in­au­gu­ra­tion.

On the east side of the com­plex, across from the Supreme Court, of­fi­cers be­gan to lose their ten­u­ous hold on the perime­ter.

On the House side, bor­der­ing In­de­pen­dence Av­enue, ri­ot­ers moved bar­ri­cades out of their way as if they were open­ing the gate in a neigh­bor’s picket fence, com­fort­able they would be wel­comed in. Of­fi­cers at­tempted with­out suc­cess to stop them one-by-one.

The De­part­ment of De­fense got a sense that things were go­ing awry at 1:05 p.m., when Act­ing Sec­re­tary Christo­pher C. Miller re­ceived “open sourced re­ports of demon­stra­tor move­ments to the U.S. Capi­tol,” ac­cord­ing to the Pen­tagon time­line.

By then, the build­ing was al­ready sur­rounded while, in­side, the state-bystate con­fir­ma­tion of elec­toral votes had just be­gun, and would pro­ceed in al­pha­bet­i­cal order.

“The tell­ers will an­nounce the votes cast by the elec­tors for each state, be­gin­ning with Alabama,” said Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence.

The rest of the world saw it hap­pen in real time, as images of of­fi­cers rad­i­cally out­num­bered by the crowd be­gan to trickle onto so­cial me­dia and some news out­lets. Law en­force­ment’s level of re­sponse stood in stark con­trast to June’s Black Lives Mat­ter protests at the Lin­coln Memo­rial on the other side of the mall, where mem­bers of the Na­tional Guard had lined the steps.

Fac­ing a grow­ing mob on the west side of the Capi­tol, po­lice de­tained one man, bring­ing him to the ground and hand­cuff­ing him with zip ties. An­other was caught up on the scaf­fold­ing pre­pared for the up­com­ing in­au­gu­ra­tion.

A com­mand­ing of­fi­cer di­rected of­fi­cers where to stand to hold the line, a stan­dard ma­neu­ver from re­cent demon­stra­tions na­tion­wide. It held for mere sec­onds un­til they were over­run again and forced to re­treat closer to the Capi­tol walls.

1:26 - Evac­u­ate the Capi­tol

Less than 30 min­utes into de­bate on the House and Se­nate floors, Capi­tol Po­lice or­dered an evac­u­a­tion of the com­plex to be­gin, ac­cord­ing to a Pen­tagon time­line.

Ex­perts say what hap­pened be­hind the scenes at that point may be more im­por­tant than what was vis­i­ble to the pub­lic.

“The ob­vi­ous ques­tion when you see some­thing like this is why?” Ta­mara

Herold, an Amer­i­can crime sci­en­tist and Direc­tor of the Crowd Man­age­ment Re­search Coun­cil, said af­ter view­ing the footage. “What de­ci­sions were be­ing made to al­low th­ese kinds of things to oc­cur? What di­rec­tives were the of­fi­cers in the crowd re­ceiv­ing?”

A few de­tails are known, with more emerg­ing daily, sug­gest­ing ur­gent pleas for help were fol­lowed by de­nials, con­fu­sion and red tape. De­ploy­ment, the ex­perts said, can­not hap­pen in a rush.

Eight min­utes af­ter the evac­u­a­tion was or­dered, Mayor Bowser called Army Sec­re­tary Ryan McCarthy ask­ing for ad­di­tional help, ac­cord­ing to the Pen­tagon time­line. Sund made one of what he told The Post were five re­quests for backup 15 min­utes later.

Their pleas lan­guished for two hours as of­fi­cials held meet­ings and fielded ad­di­tional calls.

Igor Bo­bic, a pol­i­tics re­porter at Huff­Post, shot video out the win­dow of the Se­nate cham­bers. Law en­force­ment was clearly out­num­bered.

“I re­mem­ber dur­ing the Ge­orge Floyd protests, the Cap po­lice set up a much larger perime­ter with many, many more of­fi­cers lin­ing it,” he tweeted.

Fair­fax County, Va., po­lice of­fi­cials said in a state­ment to USA TO­DAY that they were ready and mo­bi­lized im­me­di­ately to help Capi­tol Po­lice of­fi­cers as soon as they re­quested as­sis­tance. But that call didn’t come un­til 2 p.m. at which point they dis­patched 40 of­fi­cers.

Mont­gomery County, Md., po­lice told USA TO­DAY they al­ready had 53 of­fi­cers in the down­town area as part of a spe­cial event re­sponse team but would not dis­close when they were dis­patched to the Capi­tol. Ar­ling­ton County, Va., sim­i­larly re­ceived the call for mu­tual aid and sent re­in­force­ments but de­clined to say when and how many.

In the mean­time, mem­bers of Congress be­gan mak­ing their own dis­tress calls.

House Ma­jor­ity Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., called Mary­land Gov. Larry Ho­gan, say­ing the Capi­tol had been over­run. Ho­gan au­tho­rized the mo­bi­liza­tion of the Mary­land Na­tional Guard and was ready to de­ploy them to the Capi­tol.

“How­ever, we were re­peat­edly de­nied ap­proval to do so,” Ho­gan said. Af­ter “a lit­tle back and forth,” Ho­gan said, McCarthy – the Army sec­re­tary – called about 90 min­utes later to ap­prove the re­quest.

Shortly af­ter 2 p.m. Matt Laslo, the man­ag­ing edi­tor of the alt-weekly site The News Sta­tion who also was re­port­ing from in­side the Capi­tol, shot video on his phone of of­fi­cers on the east steps writhing in pain, splash­ing wa­ter in their eyes. In other videos and eye-wit­ness ac­counts, po­lice were sprayed with chem­i­cal ir­ri­tants, in some cases their own – cap­tured by ri­ot­ers.

Pep­per spray and other sim­i­lar sub­stances are con­sid­ered weapons and when a sus­pect reaches for or takes a po­lice of­fi­cer’s weapon, that is grounds for use of force. How­ever, Bar­tel, the po­lice trainer, said this was far dif­fer­ent than an as­sailant tak­ing an of­fi­cer’s taser dur­ing a traf­fic stop – a sce­nario that has led of­fi­cers to kill peo­ple in shoot­ings later deemed jus­ti­fied.

Bar­tel be­lieves that Capi­tol Po­lice of

fi­cers may have re­frained from re­spond­ing more ag­gres­sively be­cause of the size of the crowd.

“There are other peo­ple that are there who are be­ing ob­nox­ious, they’re in a place where they should not be and cer­tainly they need to leave, but they are not ac­tu­ally the ones that are us­ing force,” he said. “If I’m an of­fi­cer and I just open fire in a sit­u­a­tion like that, then I risk harm­ing an in­no­cent, mean­ing some­one who wasn’t ac­tu­ally in­volved in the use of force.”

Chap­man, who worked as an un­der­cover in­ves­ti­ga­tor for the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity be­fore he re­tired in 2006, was more sur­prised. He won­dered how none of the ri­ot­ers at that point had been shot by po­lice, not­ing the of­fi­cers with ri­fles lin­ing the up­per reaches of the build­ing.

“They have snipers on the roof of the Capi­tol,” he said, adding: “How did all those peo­ple even get that far in the first place?”

2:10 p.m. – ‘We lost con­trol’

When it came min­utes af­ter the evac­u­a­tion order, the breach of the Capi­tol was a mul­ti­front war. Ri­ot­ers stormed in from mul­ti­ple sides of the 1.5 mil­lion­square-foot com­plex through just a few of its 658 win­dows and 850 door­ways.

By 2:10 p.m., Laslo re­ported that he heard an of­fi­cer over the Capi­tol Po­lice ra­dio say “we lost con­trol.” Mo­ments later, roughly an hour af­ter Trump called his sup­port­ers to march on the Capi­tol, ri­ot­ers en­tered the build­ing.

Hav­ing failed at cor­don­ing off the Capi­tol, of­fi­cers turned their at­ten­tion to pro­tect­ing the peo­ple in­side and en­sur­ing they made their way out safely. The Se­nate and House cham­bers were cleared. In the Se­nate, the drawn-out de­bate had only reached the third state, Ari­zona.

In one of the eerier scenes of the day, cap­tured by the Huff­Post re­porter at around 2:15 p.m., a lone of­fi­cer was chased by a mob up the mar­bled stairs in the Se­nate side of the build­ing. Ba­ton out, in noth­ing but shirt­sleeves, the of­fi­cer kept his cool as Doug Jensen, clad in a QAnon tee-shirt, re­peat­edly chal­lenged him.

Later iden­ti­fied as Eu­gene Good­man, the of­fi­cer led the mob away from an open door­way to the Se­nate floor – quick think­ing that has drawn calls of hero­ism. Jensen, a 41-year-old from Iowa, would be ar­rested three days later.

As Bowser, Sund and Metropoli­tan Po­lice Chief Robert Con­tee joined an­other call with McCarthy at 2:22 p.m., the sit­u­a­tion out­side turned from per­ilous to deadly.

Pep­per spray shot into the crowd was re­turned in kind. Ob­jects were thrown; flag poles be­came spears and javelins.

The ri­ot­ers car­ried bats and ba­tons and a pitch­fork. They wore hel­mets and gas masks. Some were so out­fit­ted in tac­ti­cal gear they were hard to dis­tin­guish from on-duty law en­force­ment.

A few picked up the metal gates in­tended to keep them out and used them as bat­ter­ing rams. Others grabbed pieces of the bleach­ers erected for Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Bi­den’s swear­ing in.

Trump, who ag­gres­sively courted po­lice unions dur­ing the 2020 elec­tion, tweeted for the first time since his speech: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to pro­tect our Coun­try and our Con­sti­tu­tion,” he wrote. “USA de­mands the truth!”

Min­utes later, at 2:27 p.m., a video shows a ri­oter shov­ing a cop over a wall into a melee be­low. An­other ri­oter walked up from be­hind and hurled a fire ex­tin­guisher at the back of an of­fi­cer’s head.

Capi­tol Po­lice Of­fi­cer Brian D. Sick­nick, 42, died Thurs­day from in­juries he suf­fered “while phys­i­cally en­gag­ing with pro­test­ers,” po­lice said. Ac­cord­ing to two law en­force­ment of­fi­cials who spoke to the As­so­ci­ated Press, Sick­nick was hit in the head with a fire ex­tin­guisher, although po­lice have not con­firmed he is the one pic­tured in the video.

At 2:30 p.m., Pen­tagon of­fi­cials were still de­bat­ing Bowser and Sund’s re­quest for backup as Capi­tol Po­lice made ar­rests in­side the build­ing. Mark Jef­fer­son Leff­in­g­well hit an of­fi­cer in the Se­nate wing be­fore he was even­tu­ally sub­dued, ac­cord­ing to an ar­rest af­fi­davit.

“When he was de­terred from ad­vanc­ing fur­ther into the build­ing, Leff­in­g­well punched me re­peat­edly with a closed fist. I was struck in the hel­met that I was wear­ing and the chest,” the af­fi­davit reads. “Leff­in­g­well spon­ta­neously apol­o­gized for strik­ing the of­fi­cer. When told that the of­fi­cer who Leff­in­g­well had struck was me, Leff­in­g­well apol­o­gized to me for strik­ing me.”

Ten min­utes later, Ashan Bene­dict, who leads the Washington field divi­sion for the Bu­reau of Al­co­hol, To­bacco, Firearms and Ex­plo­sives, told The As­so­ci­ated Press that he and his of­fi­cers ar­rived only to find they were out­matched, too.

“They had ap­par­ently more bear spray and pep­per spray and chem­i­cal mu­ni­tions than we did,” Bene­dict said. “We’re com­ing up with plans to coun­ter­act their chem­i­cal mu­ni­tions with some of our own less-than-lethal de­vices, so th­ese con­ver­sa­tions are go­ing on as this chaos is un­fold­ing in front of my eyes.”

Near the Speaker’s Lobby, an­other drama was play­ing out. Twenty-five min­utes be­fore McCarthy fi­nally agreed that all the dis­trict’s Na­tional Guard forces would be needed to se­cure the Capi­tol, Ashli Bab­bitt led pro­test­ers into a hall­way, wear­ing a Trump flag as a cape.

Ac­cord­ing to a Washington Post re­port, Bab­bitt and others ar­rived just min­utes af­ter law­mak­ers in­clud­ing Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Mass., the chair­man of the House Rules Com­mit­tee, had been es­corted through the lobby yards away. As Bab­bitt tried to climb though a bar­ri­caded door, a Capi­tol Po­lice of­fi­cer shot her in the chest, killing her.

Ad­di­tional video from re­porters and others in­side the build­ing show en­try doors com­pletely un­manned as ri­ot­ers tried to break in. One de­picts an of­fi­cer try­ing to close a vel­vet rope line in a fu­tile at­tempt to slow the flood of peo­ple en­ter­ing the build­ing.

Pho­tos and videos posted to so­cial me­dia, many from the ri­ot­ers them­selves, cap­tured what they did next: pose for self­ies, in­clud­ing with an of­fi­cer, write men­ac­ing notes in law­mak­ers’ of­fices, smoke cig­a­rettes and mar­i­juana and drink beer. A man wield­ing zip-tie hand­cuffs made it to the Se­nate floor.

At 3:04 p.m., roughly an hour af­ter the first ri­oter en­tered the Capi­tol, 1,100 mem­bers of the dis­trict’s Na­tional Guard were mo­bi­lized, in­clud­ing more than 300 largely still sta­tioned at traf­fic and Metro stops around the city. They would not ar­rive for at least two hours. It would take nearly three more for the build­ing to be de­clared se­cure.

Of­fi­cers were able to hold strong on a few doors – pre­vent­ing even more ri­ot­ers from en­ter­ing – but barely.

3:10 p.m.

With blood­ied knuck­les, they clung to their po­si­tions against vi­o­lent ri­ot­ers who stripped them of their shields and passed them back to the crowd out­side.

Ri­ot­ers soon re­al­ized their util­ity, re­vers­ing course and us­ing those same shields as weapons against the cops.

Chant­ing “heave, ho!” the mob sprayed tear gas into the line of cops be­fore form­ing a hu­man bat­ter­ing ram, surg­ing for­ward with the body weight of a few dozen men.

One of­fi­cer, pinned against a metal door frame, let out a pierc­ing scream, gasp­ing for breath. A ri­oter tried to help him be­fore con­tin­u­ing to push for­ward.

“Th­ese peo­ple are at­tack­ing (the of­fi­cers) and at the same time they’re like, ‘We love you. Join us. Go home, this is not your fight,’ as they’re beat­ing them,” Fa­rina said.

It was among the en­trances of­fi­cers were able to pro­tect, but just barely.


With hun­dreds of ri­ot­ers in­side, and law­mak­ers moved to se­cret lock­down lo­ca­tions, of­fi­cers took a hands-off ap­proach. Sev­eral lined the Capi­tol Ro­tunda as ri­ot­ers pro­ceeded through, video­tap­ing their progress.

The pas­siv­ity fu­els the­o­ries that law en­force­ment was com­plicit in the siege.

But Bar­tel be­lieves that the po­lice had to choose be­tween let­ting the ri­ot­ers out of the build­ing and com­pro­mis­ing the safety of staff mem­bers in­side. One video shows of­fi­cers hold­ing open a door marked with the phrase “mur­der the me­dia” as ri­ot­ers were al­lowed to leave, with­out hand­cuffs or ar­rests.

“Some­times dis­cre­tion is the bet­ter part of valor,” Bar­tel said. “Un­for­tu­nately, the re­al­ity is some­times law en­force­ment is a lose-lose propo­si­tion. Ei­ther you lose a lit­tle or you lose big.”

Chap­man re­jects that no­tion, es­pe­cially in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal, where se­cu­rity is con­sis­tently tight with mul­ti­ple law en­force­ment agen­cies re­spon­si­ble for keep­ing both build­ings and high­rank­ing gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials safe ev­ery day. In par­tic­u­lar, he said, more ar­rests should’ve been made on the spot, es­pe­cially where they had pro­test­ers cor­ralled in­side.

“They could’ve mo­bi­lized 50 buses in the mat­ter of 15 min­utes and de­tained them all af­ter they came out,” Chap­man said. “It’s not like this is Kala­ma­zoo, Michi­gan, where pro­test­ers show up to a town­ship meet­ing and ev­ery­one’s sur­prised. But even there, there’s a con­tin­gency plan.”

Michael Sher­win, act­ing U.S. at­tor­ney in Washington, D.C., ac­knowl­edged dur­ing a call with re­porters Thurs­day that more ri­ot­ers should have been ar­rested, though he said he could not speak for Capi­tol Po­lice as to why they weren’t.

“If hun­dreds of peo­ple flooded the Capi­tol and they were not ap­pre­hended or zip-tied ... the sce­nario has made our job dif­fi­cult,” Sher­win said, adding that in­ves­ti­ga­tors now must iden­tify sus­pects through video footage and seek court or­ders to ob­tain cell­phone data.

Nearly 100 peo­ple have been ar­rested so far for their roles in the at­tack and at least 25 peo­ple are now un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for charges of ter­ror­ism. On Sun­day, top Pen­tagon of­fi­cials said that they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing 25 peo­ple for ter­ror­ism in con­nec­tion with Wed­nes­day’s at­tack that some cur­rent and for­mer mil­i­tary troops could have been in­volved.

Amid claims that Capi­tol Po­lice failed to prop­erly in­ves­ti­gate the Capi­tol at­tack­ers be­fore Wed­nes­day, the of­fi­cers them­selves also could soon be­come part of a con­gres­sional probe.

One Capi­tol Po­lice of­fi­cer was ar­rested, two are sus­pended and at least 10 are un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for their con­duct, ac­cord­ing to Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio. Ma­jor­ity Leader Steny Hoyer told House Democrats on Mon­day that as many as 15 in­stances of of­fi­cer mis­con­duct are un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

One re­port­edly put on a “Make Amer­ica Great Again” hat and started “di­rect­ing some peo­ple around,” he said. The other took a selfie with one of the peo­ple who had stormed into the Capi­tol.

“There is go­ing to be a lot of time spent an­swer­ing ques­tions about what went wrong, and there should be,” said Ter­rance Gainer, a for­mer Capi­tol Po­lice chief and Se­nate sergeant at arms. “There also is a lot more to do, in­clud­ing the large task of pre­par­ing for the in­au­gu­ra­tion.”

Gainer found Wed­nes­day’s se­cu­rity break­downs dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend.

The for­mer chief sin­gled out Sund, who once served as his chief of staff and for­merly headed the Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Divi­sion at Washington’s Metropoli­tan Po­lice De­part­ment, the unit that man­ages ma­jor spe­cial events in the city.

This was not Sund’s first time to the show. He helped plan the Metropoli­tan Po­lice De­part­ment’s cov­er­age of the 2001 and 2005 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions and was the com­man­der in charge of plan­ning the 2009 and 2013 in­au­gu­ra­tions. He also was the on-scene com­man­der for three shoot­ings: at the Na­tional Holo­caust Mu­seum in 2009, the Fam­ily Re­search Coun­cil in 2012, and the 2013 ac­tive shooter in­ci­dent at the Washington Navy Yard.

“It’s so hard to un­der­stand how this hap­pened,” Gainer said, “given the ex­pe­ri­ence.”

 ?? JOHN MINCHILLO/AP ?? Sup­port­ers of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump clash with au­thor­i­ties be­fore breach­ing the Capi­tol dur­ing the riot on Jan. 6.
JOHN MINCHILLO/AP Sup­port­ers of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump clash with au­thor­i­ties be­fore breach­ing the Capi­tol dur­ing the riot on Jan. 6.
 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump urged his sup­port­ers to go to the Capi­tol, ri­ot­ers stormed the build­ing.
GETTY IMAGES Af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump urged his sup­port­ers to go to the Capi­tol, ri­ot­ers stormed the build­ing.
 ?? SAUL LOEB/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES ?? A sup­porter of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump hold­ing an Amer­i­can flag sits at a desk af­ter in­vad­ing the Capi­tol on Jan. 6 in Washington. Some wrote men­ac­ing notes in law­mak­ers’ of­fices and smoked af­ter break­ing in.
SAUL LOEB/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES A sup­porter of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump hold­ing an Amer­i­can flag sits at a desk af­ter in­vad­ing the Capi­tol on Jan. 6 in Washington. Some wrote men­ac­ing notes in law­mak­ers’ of­fices and smoked af­ter break­ing in.
 ?? HAN­NAH GABER/USA TO­DAY ?? A mob of peo­ple gath­ers out­side the Capi­tol while Congress meets to cer­tify elec­toral votes con­firm­ing Joe Bi­den as pres­i­dent.
HAN­NAH GABER/USA TO­DAY A mob of peo­ple gath­ers out­side the Capi­tol while Congress meets to cer­tify elec­toral votes con­firm­ing Joe Bi­den as pres­i­dent.
 ?? DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES ?? U.S. Capi­tol Po­lice de­tain pro­test­ers at gun­point out­side of the House Cham­ber, where a joint ses­sion of Congress had been meet­ing Jan. 6 to con­firm the votes of the Elec­toral Col­lege.
DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES U.S. Capi­tol Po­lice de­tain pro­test­ers at gun­point out­side of the House Cham­ber, where a joint ses­sion of Congress had been meet­ing Jan. 6 to con­firm the votes of the Elec­toral Col­lege.
 ?? JON CHERRY/GETTY IMAGES ?? A ri­oter uses rail­ing to bash a door at the Capi­tol as others stand by film­ing his at­tempt to gain ac­cess to the build­ing.
JON CHERRY/GETTY IMAGES A ri­oter uses rail­ing to bash a door at the Capi­tol as others stand by film­ing his at­tempt to gain ac­cess to the build­ing.

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