Bowser Holds Late Night Briefing – Extends Public Emergency 15 Days

Bowser Holds Late Night Briefing – Extends Public Emergency 15 Days

by Larry Janezich

Posted Jan 7, 2021

Mayor Bowser called today’s insurrection at the US Capitol Building “an affront on American Democracy and DC values”.  She said MPD immediately answered a call to support federal partners and helped to quickly restore order to the US Capitol.  Bowser said, “…we saw an unprecedented attack on American Democracy incited by the United States President and he must be held accountable”. 

The statements came at a 10:30pm Situational Briefing Wednesday night.

Bowser announced she had extended the state of emergency ordered today by 15 days to assure peace and security through the Inaugural.   The order gives the Mayor authority over business operations and to restrict the movements of residents.  The extension will allow the Mayor to organize the operation of government and provides notice that some action by government restricting activities may be necessary.  Curfews will be announced as necessary to assist police, especially at night.  Residents can expect about 4 hours’ notice of curfews.

Bowser was asked if she considered what happened at the Capitol a failure on the part of the US Capitol Policeband about video which seemed to show US Capitol Police letting people through the barricades.  Bowser said she was unaware of that instance but would be spending a lot of time working law enforcement partners regarding the security of the building, and that the focus would be on making sure members of Congress can do their work.  She said, “Clearly we will have more events at the Capitol and we want to make sure every lesson learned is implemented. 

Asked if the Inaugural will be secure, Bowser said the city will regroup with the Presidential Inaugural Committee and the Joint Committee on the Inaugural Ceremony so that the best situational plan can be in place. 

Acting Chief of Police Contee provided an update on police activities.

MPD received a call for assistance from US Capitol Police shortly before 1:00pm on Wednesday.  The call reported significant activity at the Capitol where insurrectionists were trying to breach a fence and invoked an mutual support agreement.  MPD deployed platoons to assist US Capitol Police.  Contee said MPD and US Capitol Police regained control of the US Capitol by removing trespassers and conducted a sweep of the building. By 7:15pm, US Capitol Police, MPD, assisted by law enforcement officers from local jurisdictions in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey as well as the National Guard established a secure perimeter around the Capitol.   

During the insurrectionist’s invasion of the Capitol Building, they were confronted by plain clothes officers.  Contee said one Capitol Police Officer discharged their weapon, striking a female who was transported to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.  MPD Internal Affairs will conduct an investigation, as it does for all officer related deaths.  There were three other deaths on or near the Capitol Grounds – one adult female and two adult males – all of whom apparently suffered a health emergency.  MPD is awaiting reports from the DC Medical Examiner regarding the causes of death.

As of 9:30pm on Wednesday, 52+ individuals had been arrested, including four for carrying a pistol without a license, 1 for carrying a prohibited weapon, and 47 for curfew and unlawful entry violations.   Six firearms were recovered today and three last night.  26 of the 52 arrests took place on the US Capitol Grounds. 

Two pipe bombs were found – one at the DNC and one at the RNC.  A cooler containing Molotov cocktails was recovered from a vehicle which also contained a long gun. 

14 officers suffered injuries, at least one which required hospitalization. 

Contee was asked about the perception that there was restraint on the part of MPD showing restraint on arresting people after curfew, the reporter citing the 194 arrests which took place in June during the BLM protests.  Contee said the comparison was not appropriate.  MPD had to “make sure we have a safe situation, and then start effecting arrests.”  He said initially MPD started making arrests at the Capitol and then moved out from there and that arrests were ongoing “as we speak.”  Bower added that “Be On The Look Out” (BOLO) alerts will be going out for people who breached the Capitol or who were in the building. 

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