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DOJ Begins Charging Rioters Who Stormed U.S. Capitol

Washington, DC – Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen announced on Thursday that prosecutors are beginning to charge many of the violent rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol Building yesterday.

One woman was fatally shot by a plainclothes U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officer after she breached the Capitol and tried to enter the House chamber, CBS News reported.

At least 52 people had been arrested as of Wednesday night.

Over a dozen DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers were injured during the mayhem, to include one officer who was dragged into a crowd of rioters, CBS News reported.

Investigators recovered a cooler of Molotov cocktails, two pipe bombs, and six firearms as they worked to quell the chaos.

“Yesterday, our Nation watched in disbelief as a mob breached the Capitol Building and required federal and local law enforcement to help restore order,” Rosen said in a press release on Thursday afternoon.

Rosen said the U.S. Department of Justice has already begun working on holding people accountable for the mayhem that unfolded at the Capitol.

“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that those responsible for this attack on our Government and the rule of law face the full consequences of their actions under the law,” he said.

Criminal prosecutors worked “throughout the night” with law enforcement officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the USCP, the MPD, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and members of the public “to gather the evidence, identify perpetrators, and charge federal crimes where warranted,” Rosen said.

“Some participants in yesterday’s violence will be charged today, and we will continue to methodically assess evidence, charge crimes and make arrests in the coming days and weeks to ensure that those responsible are held accountable under the law,” he added.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund praised the law enforcement response to the uprising in a press release on Thursday.

“[USCP] officers and our law enforcement partners responded valiantly when faced with thousands of individuals involved in violent riotous actions as they stormed the United States Capitol Building,” Chief Sund wrote.

“These individuals actively attacked United States Capitol Police Officers and other uniformed law enforcement officers with metal pipes, discharged chemical irritants, and took up other weapons against our officers,” he said. “They were determined to enter into the Capitol Building by causing great damage.”

Chief Sund confirmed that a USCP employee fatally shot Ashli Babbitt as the rioters “were forcing their way toward the House Chamber where Members of Congress were sheltering in place.”

“Medical assistance was rendered immediately, and the female was transported to the hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries,” the chief said.

The officer who shot Babbitt has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of a joint investigation between the USCP and the MPD.

Chief Sund said that the National Guard and more than 18 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies assisted in bringing the violence under control on Wednesday.

Over 50 MPD and USCP officers were injured while responding to various incidents associated with the mass gathering, the chief said.

“The violent attack on the U.S. Capitol was unlike any I have ever experienced in my 30 years in law enforcement here in Washington, D.C.,” Chief Sund wrote. “Maintaining public safety in an open environment – specifically for First Amendment activities – has long been a challenge.”

He said the department “had a robust plan” in place to handle the “anticipated First Amendment activities.”

“But make no mistake – these mass riots were not First Amendment activities; they were criminal riotous behavior,” the chief said. “The actions of the USCP officers were heroic given the situation they faced, and I continue to have tremendous respect in the professionalism and dedication of the women and men of the United States Capitol Police.”

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Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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