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Docs reveal the extent of the confusion on January 6th. Officers were maced and trampled.

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Docs reveal the extent of the confusion on January 6th. Officers were maced and trampled.

 

Two firefighters who had been loaned to Washington for the day were the only medics on the Capitol steps on Jan. 6, attempting to triage wounded officers as they watched an angry crowd swell and threaten officers protecting Congress.

In an after-action memo, Arlington County firefighter Taylor Blunt wrote that officers were “being dragged into the crowd and trampled, attacked with scaffolding materials, and/or bear maced by demonstrators.” Some of the victims were unable to move and had to be pulled to safety.

Even the assailants sought medical assistance, and Blunt and his colleague Nathan Waterfall attended to those who were passed out or had been injured. Some, however, “feigned sickness to stay behind police lines,” according to Blunt.

The Associated Press received hundreds of emails, messages, images, and records, including the memo. The materials, when taken together, shed new light on the patchwork of law enforcement agencies that attempted to end the siege, as well as the lack of cooperation and poor preparation that stymied their efforts.

The materials were collected by the AP through 35 Freedom of Information Act requests to law enforcement agencies involved in the Capitol insurgency.

Blunt wrote, “We were among the first mutual aid teams to arrive and were critical in beginning the process of moving protestors off the Capitol.”

The assault claimed the lives of five people, including a police officer. Following that, two more officers committed suicide. Hundreds of people were injured, and more than 300 people have been charged with federal crimes, including members of the terrorist groups Proud Boys and Oathkeepers. Hundreds of other criminals are also on the loose, according to federal agents. Officials from the Justice Department have stated that they might charge those with sedition.

According to the records, Washington Metro Police Chief Robert J. Contee had formally requested the Arlington County Police Department, as well as police forces from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, and Arlington County in Virginia, to lend them some officers qualified for demonstrations and riots two days before they arrived at the Capitol.

According to emails, Arlington’s acting police chief Andy Penn said they’d send assistance for “anticipated and unplanned first amendment activities.”

The Capitol Police Department had released a security assessment at the time, warning that militia supporters, white nationalists, and other extremists were planning a “last stand” to help President Donald Trump by targeting Congress.

Federal agencies that did not react were planning for possible violence as well. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said on Jan. 4 that employees could try to telework for the week.

Penn contacted county officials two days later at 3:39 p.m., saying he had “just been alerted” that Arlington officers were responding to the Capitol assault and had been integrated into the overall response led by Capitol Police.

It had been nearly 90 minutes before the crowd stormed the Capitol and more than an hour before medics started treating wounded police officers on the stairs.

Members of Congress, who were locked down or hurried to safety as the attackers approached the House and Senate chambers that day, are conducting hearings this week to learn what went wrong with the law enforcement response that enabled the crowd to reach and ransack the Capitol.

They want to know why the Capitol Police didn’t have more assistance on hand earlier in the day, before the protest near the White House devolved into insurgency at the Capitol.

The emails obtained by the AP indicate that local police departments were warned two days earlier that there could be problems and were prepared to assist, despite the fact that they were hastily written and included misspellings and incomplete sentences.

Federal Protective Service officers, who protect federal property, had found protesters attempting to camp out on federal property the night before the breach, after hours of protests and speeches around the city, and were “being alert for any suspicious activity,” according to an email from the department.

They expected big crowds, and by the next morning, they were keeping a close eye on them.

“Good morning Sir, what I have is the Ellipse is approved for 30k but they expect much more,” a Capitol Police protective service liaison wrote at 9:45 a.m. The initial Freedom Plaza permit was for $5,000 and was increased to $30,000; the permit outside Sylven Theater is for $15,000.”

The Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist party, piqued the agents’ interest. They noticed how many people were in Washington, where they were living, and what they had expected.

In a briefing at noon on that day, just as Trump was encouraging supporters to “ fight like hell,” a Federal Protective Service email said about 300 Proud Boys were at the U.S. Capitol.

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