For months, Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice has tried every trick in the law books to conceal from Americans a massive trove of video evidence that captured all the activity at the Capitol complex on January 6. Federal judges have played along, approving hundreds of protective orders to keep video clips—particularly footage recorded by the Capitol Police’s extensive closed-circuit television system—out of the public eye.
Time, however, is running out for the government.
Despite numerous discovery delays, Garland’s prosecutors are gradually turning over video evidence to defense attorneys as they prepare for trial. All surveillance video from the Capitol’s security system is designated “highly sensitive” government material; strict rules apply to the handling of every slice of footage.
There’s a reason why. As we have reported at American Greatness for months, one of the most scandalous untold stories about January 6 is egregious police misconduct that, in some instances, amounted to brutality by D.C. Metro and U.S. Capitol police. Had these attacks by law enforcement occured in any other public or private setting against leftist protesters, the national outrage would have resulted in mass firings and immediate calls for criminal investigations.
For example, the House of Representatives held two hearings last year related to its investigation into allegations of excessive force by members of the U.S. Park Police in LaFayette Square, located across the street from the White House, on June 1, 2020. Rioters protesting the death of George Floyd occupied the federal park for days, attacked law enforcement, set fires, and looted nearby property, which prompted the Secret Service to move President Trump to a safe location. An inspector general report later confirmed rioters assaulted federal officers with “bricks, rocks, caustic liquids, frozen water bottles, glass bottles, lit flares, rental scooters, and fireworks.”
But LaFayette Square rioters were portrayed as victims rather than perpetrators of the violence. One activist, Kishon McDonald, a 39-year-old Navy veteran, testified to the House Natural Resources Committee in June 2020 that “police started throwing tear gas and flash-bang grenades at us for no reason . . . We were retreating. Using weapons on us was ridiculous. It just made the situation dangerous.” Officers also were accused of hitting protesters with riot shields and batons.
A similar yet more violent situation played out on Capitol Hill on January 6. Open-source video and testimonial evidence show Capitol and D.C. Metro police officers using flashbangs, “sting balls” filled with rubber projectiles, and excessive amounts of tear gas against peaceful protesters assembled outside the building an hour before the building even was breached. Other first-hand accounts describe physical assaults by police; one clip circulated on Twitter in late November shows several D.C. Metro police officers taking down and beating a protester who apparently breached a security line.
At least one protester, Ashli Babbitt, was shot and killed by Capitol Police Officer Michael Byrd, although she was unarmed and posed no lethal threat.