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Jan. 6 video mystery: Senator asks about officer 'gesturing toward' doors as intruders file past

After security footage review, Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson wants answers from Capitol Police officers stationed near doorway where 300-plus unauthorized individuals entered building.

Updated: June 12, 2021 - 10:04am

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The top Republican on one of the Senate's most powerful investigative panels says video footage from the Jan. 6 riot shows more than 300 people gained unauthorized access to the Capitol through a single doorway, and he is demanding answers from the police officers who were nearby.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), the top Republican on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, sent a letter late Thursday to U.S. Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman divulging the findings of his security footage review and asking whether the officers present during the episode have been interviewed.

"Have these officers filed detailed reports of this incident?" Johnson asked. "Has USCP conducted transcribed interviews with them? If so, I request copies of these reports and transcribed interviews. If not, I respectfully ask for the opportunity to interview these officers." 

The  Wisconsin lawmaker said the footage showed approximately 309 unauthorized people flowing into the Capitol building through the upper west terrace doors during a 14-minute span on Jan. 6. Since USCP estimated that at least 800 unauthorized people breached the building that day, this entry would be tied to as much as 38% of that total figure, he noted. 

"At approximately 2:26 p.m. on January 6, a security camera showed a male inside the Capitol attempting to open one of the upper west terrace doors to exit the building," Johnson wrote. "This unauthorized individual, who was by himself at the time, walked through a narrow hallway to the double doors and attempted to exit through the left door by pushing the door's crash bar. The door did not open and the individual turned around and walked back through the hallway and away from the doors.

"Approximately seven minutes later, at 2:33 p.m., security footage showed five unauthorized individuals walking down the same hallway, past a police officer. The security footage, which did not include audio, appeared to show the police officer gesturing toward the doors as these individuals walked past him. Once at the double doors, one of the five individuals pushed the left door's crash bar and this time, it opened. All five individuals exited the building at approximately 2:33 p.m."

Johnson is asking Pittman several questions, some of which include whether she concurs with the assessment that about 309 people gained entry to the facility through those doors and whether USCP still thinks about 800 unauthorized people entered the building that day.

"Does USCP know why at approximately 2:26 p.m. an individual could not open the left door at the upper west terrace entrance, but seven minutes later, at 2:33 p.m., another individual could open that same door?" the lawmaker asked. "Does USCP have any indication that this door was locked at 2:26 p.m. and then unlocked by 2:33 p.m.?"

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