Capitol Riots

Police: Militia attack groups want to ‘blow up Capitol’ during Biden speech

Acting chief of US Capitol police says threats are circulating targeting the president’s first formal speech to Congress

The police chief’s warning was made in the context of her trying to justify to Congress why exceptional security measures

.uspg
US PRESS GROUP

Militia groups involved in the 6 January insurrection want to stage another attack around Joe Biden’s upcoming address to Congress, aiming to “blow up” the complex and kill lawmakers, the acting chief of the US Capitol police has warned. In alarming testimony to a House subcommittee, Yogananda Pittman said that threats were circulating that directly targeted the president’s first formal speech to a joint session of Congress. A date for the event has not yet been announced.

“We know that members of the militia groups that were present on January 6 have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible,” Pittman said.

The police chief’s warning was made in the context of her trying to justify to Congress why exceptional security measures put in place in the wake of the 6 January assault needed to remain until alternatives could be devised. A large area around the Capitol is still surrounded by a 7ft non-scalable fence, and thousands of national guard members continue to be deployed.

“Based on that information, we think that it’s prudent that Capitol police maintain its enhanced and robust security posture until we address those vulnerabilities going forward,” she said.

Her words are also likely to be taken seriously as a clear indication of the ongoing threat posed by the armed militia members who took part in the storming of the Capitol in which five people died and almost 140 police officers were injured. Ashli Babbitt, a Trump supporter and military veteran, was shot and killed by a Capitol police officer.

Several of the most prominent armed militia and extremist groups in the US were at the forefront of the Capitol riot. The assault followed an incendiary rally by Donald Trump to promote his “big lie” that the November election was stolen from him by Biden.

A number of militia members have been arrested and charged as part of the giant federal investigation into the events of 6 January. In an indictment handed down last week against six alleged members of the Oath Keepers militia, the justice department charged that the group had planned for several months to prevent Congress from certifying the electoral college results of the presidential election.

Several members of the far-right Proud Boys have also been charged with criminal conspiracy.

This week’s congressional hearings are the start of what is expected to be a slew of official investigations into the drastic security failures that gave rise to the breach of the Capitol complex. In her testimony Pittman confirmed that some 800 rioters had entered the building and that the total number who were present amounted to as many as 10,000.

Pittman has stepped up to lead the Capitol police force after the chief at the time of the storming, Steven Sund, resigned days after the catastrophe. In his evidence to Congress earlier this week, Sund said: “These criminals came prepared for war.”

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are tracking closely far-right online chatter for early warnings on any possible repeat attacks in Washington or other cities. In addition to Biden’s upcoming congressional address, law enforcement will also be on alert on the days leading up to 4 March – the date set by the extreme conspiracy theory QAnon for Trump to return to Washington to start a second term as president.

Followers of the crank movement have been growing increasingly agitated by the fantasy around a Trump comeback on 4 March, the date on which US presidents were originally inaugurated.

Read more

Capitol Officer died of strokes after the insurrection, D.C. medical examiner rules

US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick suffered strokes and died of natural causes one day after responding to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, Washington DC's chief medical examiner has determined. The medical examiner, Francisco Diaz, didn't note any evidence that Sicknick had an allergic reaction to chemical spray or list any internal or external injuries, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the ruling. Still, Diaz told the newspaper that "all that transpired" on January 6 "played a role in his condition."

Judge orders two Proud Boys leaders held in custody

A federal judge has ordered two leaders of the far-right Proud Boys group to be detained in jail pending trial for their involvement in the 6 January attack on the Capitol in Washington DC. Both were indicted in one of many Proud Boys conspiracy cases to stem from the investigation into the assault on the building that followed a pro-Donald Trump rally.

US police and public officials donated to Kyle Rittenhouse, data breach reveals

A data breach at a Christian crowdfunding website has revealed that serving police officers and public officials have donated money to fundraisers for accused vigilante murderers, far-right activists, and fellow officers accused of shooting black Americans. In many of these cases, the donations were attached to their official email addresses, raising questions about the use of public resources in supporting such campaigns.

Cops took away Indy shooter’s gun a year before massacre at the FedEx facility

More than a year before he killed eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, the FBI seized a shotgun from Brandon Scott Hole’s home after his mom had called authorities, warning them he might try to commit “suicide by cop”. On Thursday night, the 19-year-old — who worked at the FedEx Ground-Plainfield Operation until 2020 — got out of his car in the parking lot around 11 p.m. local time and “pretty quickly started some random shooting” in the parking lot with a rifle, gunning down four people before going inside the warehouse, where he fatally shot four more, police said.