The Washington Post's coverage of police ego accounts is utterly harrowing. It contains the story of two officers who were captured by the crowd and dragged down the steps of the Capitol when they were kicked, beaten, and repeatedly hit by flags and shields. Another officer was held between two doors with only his head and shoulders sticking out of the building when insurgents repeatedly beat him with his own baton. In a tunnel below the building, a small group of officers desperately fought hundreds of rioters, all the while thinking they were the only barrier between lawmakers and the mob.
In all of the summer incidents where large groups of heavily armed police dragged civilians off the streets, fired tear gas into the crowd of peaceful demonstrators, or bleeded elderly people on the sidewalk, the opposite was the case in DC. Two different police forces – the Capitol Police and the Metro DC Police – were outnumbered by a factor of hundreds to one and faced violent forces that pushed down barriers, ignored warnings, and attacked officers directly. This wasn't someone who was accused of throwing a water bottle somewhere in the ranks. These were men who grabbed bits of iron and slapped the police in the face.
The DC police were only called in to assist the Capitol Police after the Trump forces began breaking barriers and threatened to break into the Capitol. Nothing was planned for this event. Nobody went through scenarios, staked fallback positions or even harmonized communication. The result was horror stories from every point of the compass as each group of police officers had no idea what was happening elsewhere, where reinforcement was needed, or even if a position they were desperately fighting for had already been overrun.
In the tunnel under the Capitol, a group of officers kept getting up and trying to hold the narrow space against a force that numbered in the hundreds or thousands. And, as seen in many videos of the battle on the Capitol steps, that force was coordinated. They picked up bear spray and fired in rows at the surprised police, many of whom were missing gas masks. They came complete with their own shields, their own batons. And there was a very good reason the police didn't start firing their weapons at the attacking crowd – they knew the invaders were armed too.
Another thing the invaders had was training. As reported by the Los Angeles Times – and announced arrests have shown – the armed forces that attacked the Capitol were staffed with current and former military personnel, as well as off-duty police and firefighters. These military and police insurgents were members of groups like the Oath Keepers, who specifically fill their ranks with ex-cops and veterans, as well as the three percent militia.
Police dealing with these groups were amazed when they used signal flags and radios to coordinate movement in the Capitol. The insurgents located weak points, concentrated their forces and responded quickly to police movements. As videos have shown, the insurgents were also aware of the layout of the Capitol Building and had pre-planned access routes, including knowing which windows could be knocked out to gain access to supposedly restricted areas.
The other thing that shocked the police was not the fact that they were facing forces at least as well equipped as they were, but rather the objectives of those forces. It was evident from the start that insurgents did not enter the Capitol with the intention of simply waving flags on statues, but of directly attacking members of Congress.
As reported by the Washington Post, this was made explicitly clear during the attack, and it became clear that even the insurgents, which at first appeared hilarious, had serious intentions to take hostages, carry out executions and overthrow the government. So-called "Q Shaman" Jacob Chansley, wearing fake Native American clothing and carrying a spear as he entered the building, scribbled a note for Mike Pence: "It's only a matter of time before justice will come. " He left this note on Pence's desk in the Senate.
As of Thursday, Chansley's attorney was the same St. Louis attorney who represented the couple with the guns Mark and Patricia McCloskey –stated that his client had done nothing wrong. "He I just got in with all the crowd that came in on the peaceful side of things. "The lawyer then asked his client for a pardon from the president because Chansley"I had a feeling he was answering our President's call. "
There is no doubt about that. Chansley answered the call from Trump. But that call and Chansley were anything but "peaceful".
As the crowd pulled Fanone down the steps, he said he was afraid he would be undressed and dragged through the Capitol.
"I was hit from every angle," he said. "I thought maybe I could address someone's humanity."
Good luck with it.