"Kill him with his own gun": D.C. cops describe confronting the Capitol mob

If you can spare the time, don’t just watch the clip below. Read the Washington Post’s account of how bad it got for the D.C. and Capitol Police. One officer seen in the video, Michael Fanone, raced to the scene (“They were overthrowing the Capitol, the seat of democracy, and I f—ing went”) only to end up being dragged down the stairs and clubbed repeatedly in the now-famous video that circulated on the Internet in the days after. Fanone says he was hit with a stun gun and suffered a “mild” heart attack while the mob of degenerates around him chanted “USA!” and “We got one!” Other officers had to face people armed with “metal poles ripped from scaffolding, wooden 2-by-4 boards, bats, sledgehammers, table legs and 50-pound fire extinguishers.” Almost 60 ended up being wounded before the day was done.

The standoff in the West Terrace tunnel sounds like Thermopylae, a few dozen cops blocking an entrance sought by a few thousand protesters.

Kyle got the officers inside and closed the doors. He thought they were safe, that the Capitol doors and windows were fortified to withstand blows and bullets. He found out quickly they were not. Thirty seconds later, people outside had already bashed them open and were headed inside. Officers raced forward to confront the mob in the vestibule.

The violent standoff would last hours.

Officers lined up six deep and five abreast. “We all just made a decision,” Kyle said. “We weren’t going to let these individuals in the building. No matter what.”

Rioters employed bear spray and other chemical irritants that blinded officers and threw smoke grenades that turned the tunnel pitch black. “If you didn’t have a gas mask,” Kyle said — and many officers didn’t — “it was almost impossible to breathe.”

The number of officers changed by the minute — anywhere between 30 and 60 — depending on injuries and how long it took to step aside, recover from the gas that seared their lungs, and get back into battle.

The common thread in the cops’ accounts is rioters insisting repeatedly that they were allies while they attacked them, so intent were these people on presenting themselves as some vanguard of Trump-style “law and order” while they ransacked the g-ddamned Capitol. Fanone remembers being hit by a pole with a “thin blue line” flag on it, an irony so cartoonish that no work of fiction would stoop to it.

It was a true team effort too. The FBI is investigating no fewer than 37 people for the death of Officer Brian Sicknick. The feds have been cagey about releasing details of Sicknick’s death apart from leaking the detail that he was hit with a heavy fire extinguisher. You’re left to wonder if he wasn’t set upon by the crowd too, whether stomped, beaten, or what have you. (Remember that the feds have also said that the scene in the Capitol was worse than the public knows, another possible allusion to what happened to Sicknick.) I don’t know how else 37 people would be targets.

“Mob” may not be the right word for all of the participants either. “Everything they did was in a military fashion,” said one cop to WaPo about a group of people he saw on the Capitol steps using “hand signals” and flags to indicate their positions. Yesterday a filing in the case of the “QAnon Shaman” suggested that some were there for the purpose of executing lawmakers:

The detention memo, written by Justice Department lawyers in Arizona, goes into greater detail about the FBI’s investigation into Chansley, revealing that he left a note for Pence warning that “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”

“Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government,” prosecutors wrote.

I’m not sure why anyone would bring flex cuffs to the scene of an insurrection unless they were planning to take hostages, at a minimum.

Nine days later, here’s where we are as Washington gears up for an inauguration and some sort of massive “armed protest” on Sunday:

The creation of a “green zone” in the capital of the United States has me tempted to say this must be rock bottom, but we all know it isn’t. Even if D.C.’s Iraq-style security measures are enough to deter domestic terrorists, 50 state capitols remain largely exposed. And since there are only so many National Guardsmen to go around, every Guard member who’s stationed in Washington to prevent a terror attack isn’t stationed back home to prevent a terror attack there. “[M]any of the people committing violence at these rallies have been conditioned to believe that law enforcement will allow it to happen,” said one expert to Time magazine about the threat this weekend. If nothing else good came from the Capitol riot, maybe that’s one thing that did — hard evidence for would-be insurrectionists that cops aren’t just going to stand aside and let some degenerate lynch lawmakers because they have “back the blue” on the t-shirt they’re wearing.