US Capitol riot: Police officers to testify at first meeting of the January 6 select committee

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they try to storm the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021.
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they try to storm the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021.

  • The US House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack holds its first hearing July 27.
  • The committee was created after Republicans defeated an effort to create an independent commission.
  • It has 13 members, but only eight have been named thus far. Rep. Liz Cheney is the lone Republican.
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Police officers who were attacked by a pro-Trump mob at the US Capitol will testify before Congress next week at the first meeting of a select committee created to investigate the attack.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi who chairs the panel, announced Monday that the officers would testify July 27 regarding, “The Law Enforcement Experience on January 6th.”

Among those testify is Michael Fanone, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC.

Fanone, according to prosecutors, was shot with a stun gun, dragged down steps at the US Capitol, and beaten with a flagpole. He suffered a heart attack during the attack, which he said has left him with post-traumatic stress disorder.

At least 140 police officers were injured during the riot. At least two died during or following the attack: one from a stroke suffered after being hit with bear spray, which a medical examiner said may have been a contributing factor, and another from suicide.

Earlier this month, federal agents arrested a Pennsylvania man after a video appeared to show him charging at police with a stun gun and assaulting a photographer who captured the footage.

In June, the House passed legislation creating a select committee to investigate the January 6 attack after Republicans defeated a Democratic proposal for an independent commission.

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A Texas family of 5 was charged in breaching the Capitol after one member posted on social media: ‘Holy s— we were inside the f—ing capital’

Capitol riot
  • A family of five from Texas was charged in connection with the January 6 riot.
  • The Munn family was placed at the Capitol using CCTV footage inside the building and their social media posts and conversations, according to court documents.
  • According to court documents, one of them wrote on Facebook: “Holy s— we were inside the f—ing capital!”
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A family of five from Texas was charged in connection with the January 6 riot after prosecutors used CCTV footage and found social media placing them at the Capitol, including one post that said, “Holy s— we were inside the f—ing capital [sic].”

The FBI received a tip that Kristi Munn entered the building on January 6 and reported to the FBI that Kristi and other members of her family traveled from Texas to Washington, DC, evidenced by Kristi Munn’s Facebook account and six screenshots of Kristi Munn’s Snapchat account, according to the affidavit.

In late January, David Lee Bolyard, the FBI agent who filed the affidavit, said he reached out to interview Kristi Munn, who claimed to be present in DC to exercise her First Amendment right to protest the certification of then-President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election but claimed she did not enter the Capitol.

But security footage captured the Munn family crawling through a window and walking the halls of the building, the affidavit says.

The affidavit also included social media posts where members of the Munn family also admitted to being inside the Capitol. On January 6, Dawn Munn wrote in a Facebook conversation, “We went in and stormed capital [sic] !” and “We were in capital [sic]!! … I do mean IN the building!!” In a separate conversation the same day, Dawn Munn also indicated the family crawled through a window to enter the building.

“They barricaded the door so they took out window…climbed in!!!” she wrote.

Screenshot from Tom Munn’s Facebook
Screenshot from Tom Munn’s Facebook.

Another family member who was charged, Josh Munn, also discussed how the family entered the building in a Facebook conversation.

“Damn how did y’all get in the capital [sic] building,” a person solely identified as Joel said to Josh Munn.

Munn replied, “The first group opened up a window sort of say [sic] and we followed it through.”

The person responded by saying, “Oh so u broke in?” to which Josh Munn said, “No we did not brake [sic] In the window was opne [sic] when i got there.”

Kayli Munn, who was also charged, wrote on Facebook: “F—ing great! Holy s— we were inside the
f—ing capital [sic]!”

Kristi Munn, Thomas “Tom” Munn, Dawn Munn, Joshua “Josh” Munn, and Kayli Munn, of Borger, Texas, were charged with illegally entering a restricted government building and disrupting a session of Congress, according to an affidavit filed Monday.

None of the family members have not yet entered pleas in the case as of Tuesday afternoon, and attorney information for the family was not immediately available.

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An ex-GOP staffer pleaded guilty to child pornography charges and now faces up to 15 years in prison

Capitol
The US Capitol is shown through security fencing on March 21, 2021.

  • An ex-GOP staffer pleaded guilty to a child pornography charge and faces 12 to 15 years in prison.
  • An investigation found Ruben Verastigui took part in a chat featuring sexual depictions of children.
  • “Verastigui’s release would put the public and children everywhere at-risk,” prosecutors said.
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A former GOP staffer and Republican National Committee aide pleaded guilty to a child pornography charge after he admitted to possessing 50 photos and 152 videos of child pornography.

Ruben Verastigui, 27, entered a guilty plea during a video conference hearing and could face 12 to 15 years in prison under a plea deal with prosecutors.

Verastigui was involved in a ring of at least 18 other people who were trading child pornography via a chat group on an unnamed website, in which he was accused of trading sexual depictions of children and discussing killing children.

The DC Metropolitan Police arrested Verastigui in February, after an investigation. He was accused of having “distributed, received, and possessed images of child pornography” between March 2020 and February 2021, according to a press release from the MPD.

The Daily Beast reported Verastigui had worked for the Senate Republican Conference as a digital strategist until July 2020, according to his now-deleted LinkedIn profile, and he also designed social media ads for Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.

Congressional payroll records also showed Verastigui worked as a digital director for the Joint Economic Committee in 2018, Politico reported.

Following his arrest, federal prosecutors wrote in a detention memo in February that Verastigui sought out images of rape of children and discussed “in great detail” how he enjoyed seeing children abused and killed, citing a report from The Daily Beast. Chat logs included messages between Verastigui and another group chat member talking about traveling somewhere with police officers so they could kill a child, according to the memo.

“Verastigui’s release would put the public and children everywhere at-risk,” prosecutors wrote in the February memo.

A judge is set to rule on Verastigui’s sentence on October 12.

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6 months after Capitol insurrection, the suspect who planted pipe bombs near the DNC and RNC headquarters has not been arrested

The suspect who planted the pipe bombs was captured in surveillance video.
The suspect who planted the pipe bombs was captured in surveillance video.

  • The suspect who planted two pipe bombs near the RNC and DNC headquarters has not yet been arrested by authorities.
  • The FBI is offering a $100,000 for tips or information on the suspect.
  • Nearly 550 suspected rioters have been arrested in connection with the Capitol insurrection on January 6.
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The suspect who planted two pipe bombs in Washington, DC, ahead of January 6 has yet to be arrested, six months after the Capitol insurrection.

A mob of pro-Trump supporters breached the Capitol six months ago on January 6, the same day Congress was set to certify then-President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election. More than 500 suspected rioters are facing charges in connection with the riot.

The Associated Press reported in January that the pipe bombs were placed the night before rioters descended upon the Capitol – one behind the headquarters of the Republican National Committee and the other next to a park bench near the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

Police discovered the pipe bombs – filled with black explosive powder and fitted with egg timers – around 1 p.m. local time on January 6, shortly after rioters confronted Capitol Police officers. Surveillance footage captured the suspect wearing a grey hooded sweater and carrying a backpack while placing the pipe bombs between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. local time on January 5.

“The unknown individual wore a face mask, a grey hooded sweatshirt, and black and light grey Nike Air
Max Speed Turf shoes with a yellow logo,” according to a press release from the FBI.

The FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for tips and information on identifying the suspect.

DC Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said during a House Oversight Committee hearing in May that “that investigation continues on.”

During the same hearing, Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton told lawmakers that the pipe bombs could have been planted as a “diversion,” after three teams were dispatched to investigate the incident, leaving one team to guard the Capitol on January 6.

“If those pipe bombs were intended to be a diversion, it worked,” Bolton said during his testimony.

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At least 49 people charged in the Capitol insurrection are accused of trying to delete images, videos, or texts from their phones and social media accounts, according to a report

Capitol riot
Pro-Trump supporters storming the US Capitol on January 6.

  • Authorities claim some people who took part in the Capitol riots later wiped evidence, the Associated Press reports.
  • The people deleted texts or social media posts that showed they’d participated in the insurrection, authorities said in court documents viewed by AP.
  • They are among the 545 people arrested in connection with the Capitol siege on January 6.
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At least 49 people charged in connection with the US Capitol riots in January are also accused of trying to delete evidence from their phones and social media accounts, according to a review of court records by the Associated Press, published Saturday.

The court documents cited by AP show that the defendants are accused of trying to erase images, videos, and texts that document their involvement in the deadly siege on the US Capitol on January 6. It took several hours for authorities to regain control after supporters of then-President Donald Trump swarmed the building, and at least four people died.

One defendant sent texts about being inside the Capitol during the riots, authorities said in the court documents cited by AP. In a text sent two days after the insurrection, an associate of the defendant told him to delete all content from his social media accounts and buy a new phone, authorities said in the court documents seen by AP. The defendant then shut down his Facebook account, where he had uploaded photos and written posts about the attack, authorities said in the documents, according to AP.

The people accused of deleting incriminating content from their phones or social media accounts are part of a wider pool of 545 people who have been arrested in connection with the Capitol siege.

Another defendant, who authorities say posted videos and comments on social media showing they were inside the Capitol during the riots, chose to not restore their new phone with iCloud content from their old device, potentially to hide evidence, authorities said in court documents seen by AP.

Authorities can ask social media companies to preserve posts and content until they get legal authority to view them, Adam Scott Wandt, a public policy professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told AP.

Meanwhile, Joel Hirschhorn, a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, told AP that metadata – hidden information within media files – will show whether social media material was modified or deleted.

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Problem Solvers Caucus, a key bipartisan group, backs congressional inquiry into January 6 US Capitol riot, as members of the GOP defect from McCarthy’s stance

AP20356824544211
Problem Solvers Caucus co-chairs Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., at podium, and Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., right, speak to the media with members of their caucus about the expected passage of the emergency COVID-19 relief bill, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

A key bipartisan group of lawmakers has come out in support of a congressional commission to investigate the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.

The Problem Solvers Caucus, which includes 58 members from both parties, announced its endorsement in a statement on Tuesday.

More than 75% of the lawmakers supported the decision, the group said, stating that an investigation could lead produce recommendations “to ensure an attack like January 6th can never take place again.”

Read more: Neera Tanden is now one of at least 61 Center for American Progress alumni working for the Biden administration

The development comes just hours after House Republican leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, came out against the proposed commission, which would empower a bipartisan panel of lawmakers to investigate the lead-up and response to the events of January 6.

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Facebook failed to prevent far-right groups from planning the US Capitol siege, according to an internal report

US Capitol
US Capitol riots.

  • Facebook failed to stop far-right groups from planning to storm the Capitol, an internal report said.
  • It showed that insurrection plans continued even after the “Stop the Steal” group was banned.
  • “Hindsight is 20/20, at the time,” the report said, adding the company will “do better next time.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Facebook failed to prevent far-right groups from planning the US Capitol riots on its platform, according to an internal report.

In January, pro-Donald Trump extremists broke into the House and Senate chambers to disrupt the confirmation of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. The riots led to five deaths and dozens of arrests.

An internal report seen by BuzzFeed News showed that numerous groups who gathered on Facebook continued to plan the insurrection even after the far-right “Stop the Steal” group was banned.

Stop the Steal became the most popular Facebook group, accumulating more than 365,000 members in less than two days before the social media site removed it for making “worrying calls for violence.”

The report, which was shared with Facebook employees in March, said Facebook users in the Stop the Steal group and other pro-Trump groups contributed to the attack on the Capitol.

According to the report, Facebook’s attempt to dig out fake accounts and “inauthentic behavior” hindered the company from taking action against real people on the platform who were directly involved in the planning of the riots.

“Hindsight is 20/20, at the time,” the report said, per Buzzfeed. “It was very difficult to know whether what we were seeing was a coordinated effort to delegitimize the election, or whether it was free expression by users who were afraid and confused and deserved our empathy.”

Read more: Security experts slam Facebook for downplaying a massive data leak as old news

Facebook was only able to take down groups and pages when they exceeded a violation threshold. This was because the company was looking at each case individually, according to the report.

“After the Capitol Insurrection and a wave of Storm the Capitol events across the country, we realized that the individual delegitimizing Groups, Pages and slogans did constitute a cohesive movement,” the report said.

Delegitimization of elections was a “new territory” and “few policies or knowledge existed” prior to election night, Facebook’s report said.

“We learned a lot from these cases,” the report added. “We’re building tools and protocols and having policy discussions to help us do better next time.”

A Facebook spokesperson told Insider in a statement that the company tried to reduce the amount of claims of a fraudulent election by suspending Trump’s account, removing the Stop the Steal group, and labeling candidates’ post with vote-counting information.

“As we’ve said previously, we still saw problematic content on our platform during this period and we know that we didn’t catch everything,” the spokesperson said. The report is not a “definitive post-mortem report,” they added.

A week after the riots, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said the event wasn’t primarily organized on the platform but admitted the company’s moderation “is never perfect.”

In March, CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the role tech its site plays in the spread of misinformation and extremism online.

Zuckerberg said the company worked with law enforcement before January 6 to identify and address threats, and remove violent posts about the attacks.

“We didn’t catch everything, but we made our services inhospitable to those who might do harm,” he added.

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The Capitol Police officer who died after Capitol attack was honored with a police procession

william billy evans capitol police
This image provided by the U.S. Capitol Police shows U.S. Capitol Police officer William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year veteran who was a member of the department’s first responders unit.

  • Video shows officers a police procession honoring the officer who died at the Capitol attack on Friday.
  • USCP officer William Evans died of his injuries after a car rammed into an outside barrier at the Capitol.
  • Flags at the Capitol, White House, and other federal buildings were flown at half-staff to honor the fallen officer.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Capitol Police officer who died after a car rammed into a barrier outside the Capitol was honored with a police procession on Friday.

Video footage of the procession shows officers from both the Capitol Police force and Metropolitan Police Department, as well as members of the Secret Service, standing at attention for a motorcade carrying the body of fallen officer William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year veteran of the USCP.

Earlier Friday, the Capitol went on lockdown after a vehicle rammed into an outside barricade and injured two officers. Evans later died from his injuries sustained during the incident, and the other officer remains hospitalized but in stable condition.

The suspect was shot dead by one of the officers after the driver exited the car brandishing a weapon.

The USCP identified the fallen officer as Evans in a statement following the attack outside the Capitol.

“It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the passing of Officer William ‘Billy’ Evans this afternoon from injuries he sustained following an attack at the North Barricade by a lone assailant,” Yogananda Pittman, acting USCP Chief Officer, said in a statement.

“Evans had been a member of the United States Capitol Police for 18 years,” Pittman continued in the statement. “He began his USCP service on March 7, 2003, and was a member of the Capitol Division’s First Responder’s Unit. Please keep Officer Evans and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Flags at the Capitol and the White House were ordered to be flown at half-staff by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden respectively to honor the fallen police officer.

Less than three months ago, pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, resulting in the deaths of five people – including two Capitol Police officers.

“We send our heartfelt condolences to Officer Evans’ family, and everyone grieving his loss,” Biden said in a statement following the incident. “We know what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol, everyone who works there, and those who protect it.”

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Biden says he is ‘heartbroken’ and orders flags at the White House to be flown at half-staff in response to Capitol Police officer death

joe biden
President Joe Biden.

  • Biden said he was “heartbroken” after a Capitol attack left one Capitol Police officer dead.
  • A car rammed into a barricade at the Capitol, injuring two officers – one of whom is hospitalized.
  • Biden ordered the flags at the White House to be flown at half-staff to honor the officer.
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President Joe Biden ordered flags at the White House to be flown at half-staff in response to the death of a Capitol Police officer after a car rammed into a barricade outside the Capitol on Friday afternoon.

Earlier Friday, the Capitol went on lockdown after a vehicle rammed into an outside barricade and injured two officers. One of the officers, identified by the Capitol Police as Officer William Evans, later died from his injuries.

“Jill and I were heartbroken to learn of the violent attack at a security checkpoint on the US Capitol grounds, which killed Officer William Evans of the US Capitol Police, and left a fellow officer fighting for his life,” Biden said in a statement. “We send our heartfelt condolences to Officer Evans’ family, and everyone grieving his loss. We know what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol, everyone who works there, and those who protect it.”

The suspect was shot and killed by one of the officers after exiting “the car with a knife in hand” and “lunging” at the officers, Yogananda Pittman, the acting Capitol Police chief, said at a press conference. The National Guard was deployed to the Capitol shortly after the incident to assist Capitol Police officers who were lining the perimeter of the building.

“I want to express the nation’s gratitude to the Capitol Police, the National Guard Immediate Response Force, and others who quickly responded to this attack,” the president said in the statement. “As we mourn the loss of yet another courageous Capitol Police officer, I have ordered that the White House flags be lowered to half-mast.”

Biden’s move followed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi making a similar order to lower the flags at the Capitol to half-staff.

The lockdown at the Capitol was lifted about 3 p.m. local time.

Less than three months ago, pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, resulting in the deaths of five people – including two Capitol Police officers.

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Police officer killed and suspect shot dead after vehicle attack at US Capitol

Capitol car crash
Capitol Police officers near a car that crashed into a barrier on Capitol Hill on April 2.

  • The United States Capitol locked down on Friday afternoon after a car rammed into a barricade.
  • Capitol Police confirmed that the car hit two officers in front of the barricade.
  • One officer died and the other has been hospitalized. The suspect was shot and killed.
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A Capitol Police officer died and another was injured after someone rammed a car into a barricade outside the US Capitol on Friday, Yogananda Pittman, the acting Capitol Police chief, said at a press conference.

After hitting the barricade, the driver “exited the car with a knife in hand” and “lunged” at the officers before one of them opened fire, killing the driver, she added. Multiple news outlets, including NBC News, CNN, and The New York Times, identified the suspect as Noah Green, 25, of Indiana.

Capitol Police also identified the fallen officer as William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year veteran of the department.

“It is with a very, very heavy heart that I announce one of our officers has succumbed to his injuries,” Pittman said. “I just ask that the public keep the U.S. Capitol Police and their families in your prayers.”

The Capitol went into lockdown earlier on Friday after Capitol Police sent out an alert telling people in the complex to stay indoors because of an “external security threat.” Congress was in recess, and neither the House nor the Senate was in session.

Videos posted to social media by reporters in the building showed a heavy police presence outside the Capitol. At one point, a helicopter was seen landing on the premises, and the National Guard was also deployed after the incident.

Witnesses reported that a car crashed into the barricade outside the Capitol shortly after 1 p.m. ET.

A pair of stretchers was also seen by a reporter as first responders arrived on the scene.

For hours, members of the National Guard and armed Capitol Police officers lined a perimeter blocking everyone, including reporters, from getting closer.

US Capitol

A Capitol Police officer told Insider he was moved from a hard squad to help with the lockdown. He said officers were armed with M4 rifles, in addition to their Glocks. The officer said the lockdown was lengthier than expected as authorities sought more information about the incident.

US Capitol

The lockdown was lifted just after 3 p.m. ET. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff said she ordered the flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-staff in light of the events.

Friday’s incident comes less than three months after hundreds of former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol to interrupt a joint session of Congress that was underway to finalize President Joe Biden’s win. At least five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died during the violent insurrection.

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