What you need to know about the Capitol Riot

Anonymous, Staff Writer

On January 6th 2021 around 12:53pm the barricades at the Capitol were breached and people all over the country were in utter shock. Former President of the United States, Donald Trump, had been planning a pro-Trump rally since before the vote count on January 6th. Trump had tweeted, “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” Trump’s plan for this rally was to speak to his supporters about the vote count and his frustration about the election results and potential fraud.

Trump had started his speech around 12pm near the White house. Thousands of people gathered in support of Trump. Around 12:30pm, the crowd began to walk over to the Capitol building. As this was happening there was a joint session of Congress going on in the building to finalize the Electoral College vote count for Biden’s victory. 

Once security was breached, the Capitol police evacuated all of the Congress members from the Senate and House Representative chambers. According to the Washington Post, “Many of the buildings in the Capitol complex were evacuated and all were locked down. Protestors occupied and ransacked the empty senate chamber while federal law enforcement officers drew handguns to defend the evacuated house floor.”

There was a lot going on inside the building as many of the protesters were looting and vandalizing the building as well as being violent toward Capitol police. There were a lot of these incidents shown on video and many have surfaced on social media. According to USA Today, “In another doorway, officers fighting back rioters were doused with an orange chemical spray. One rioter tried to remove an officer’s face shield that had been coated with the irritant.”

Other videos have surfaced of Capitol police interacting with the rioters by taking selfies and videos. These police officers are being tracked down. USA Today reported that two officers have been suspended and at least ten others are being investigated about their conduct. 

One specific officer, Eugene Goodman, was one of many officers who tried their best to control the mob. There is one video in particular on social media that shows how Goodman led the crowd of rioters toward other capitol police without the rioters knowing he was leading them there. In the video, it shows that Goodman appeared to be scared and it seems like he is allowing the crowd to chase him and go farther into the building. However, it is clear that he intentionally led them in the room of other police. Due to his courage and ability to assess the situation, Goodman had the honor of walking Vice President, Kamala Harris, to the stage at the inauguration on January 20th. He will also be taking a new role as the new acting deputy Senate Sergeant-at-arms. 

Around 3:16pm on January 6th, the rioters reached a third door at the southeast side of the Capitol building. At this point the riot had been going on for approximately 2 hours. The protesters continued to steal things and one man sat at the Vice President’s desk. Then, at about 4:14pm, an FBI SWAT team was seen at the building. About 3 minutes later, former President Donald Trump tweets a video directed at his supporters saying, “It was a landslide election. And everyone knows it. Especially the other side. But you have to go home… There’s never been a time like this when such a thing happened when they could take it all away from us. From me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election… Go home. We love you. You’re very special.”

After this, at 5:34pm the sergeant-at-arms says the Capitol building is secure and members of Congress continue to shelter. Once the National Guard arrived around 5:40pm, they began supporting operations. The curfew of 6pm then began in Washington D.C.

At 6:01pm Trump’s last tweet of the night said, “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly and unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love and in peace. Remember this day forever!”

On January 7th, the day after the riot, the Los Angeles times reported that at least 82 people were arrested in connection with the mob that overran the Capitol. Officials were reportedly scouring videos and images online to track down the people involved in the riot. There is data that was released by the Washington Metropolitan Police and U.S Capitol Police that shows the charges that were brought against the people that participated in the riot at the Capitol. 

According to the data, 64 people were charged for a curfew violation, 37 charged for unlawful entry, 6 charged for carrying a pistol without a license, and many more charges for the rest of the mob. Data from justice.gov shows that thirteen people were charged in Federal court and approximately 40 people were charged in superior court. 

Not only did the rioters loot the building, vandalize, and get violent with police, CNN reported that 38 Capitol police officers tested positive for Covid-19 after the capitol riot. It was also reported that five people died during the siege including capitol police officer, Brian Sicknick, while dozens of others were injured. 

There have been other events in history where there was violence at the Capitol in the 19th and 20th centuries. However, historians are calling this event the most drastic assault since the burning of Washington accomplished by the British Army during the war of 1812.