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J6 security failures mount as footage shows Capitol Police losing control of gear used against them

Chairman of House subcommittee investigating security failures vows to investigate the episode. "Very strange," Rep. Barry Loudermilk says.

Published: July 18, 2023 7:38pm

Updated: July 19, 2023 9:52am

Intelligence forewarning of violence kept from decision makers. A plea for National Guard rejected. Security locks on a door deactivated, allowing rioters to flood into the Capitol. And now officers losing control of gear that then gets used against them.

The evidence of serious security failures inside the Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 tragedy keeps mounting as House Republicans use their new found control to expose information that was suppressed by their Democratic counterparts' original investigation.

The latest bombshell surfaced Tuesday night when security obtained by Just the News revealed Capitol Police lost control of a yellow bag of law enforcement-like equipment, including plastic handcuffs that are immediately used by rioters to put officers in danger.

The dramatic footage from the Memorial Door area on the east side of the Capitol covers about a 20-minute period of time as the building is first being breached by rioters, and was identified during a Just the News review of hours of security footage made available to the news organization by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and House Administration Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.).

The closed-circuit video -- which has no sound -- clearly shows Capitol Police officers leaving the bag of gear unattended at various times and even allowing a flag-waving rioter to eventually walk off with the entire bag and a separate hardshell case of other equipment. You can watch the footage in the player above.

At one consequential moment in the footage, the officers carry the bag toward an entry door and drop it on the ground, forcing two plastic zip-tie handcuffs to fall to the ground. The officers walk into the building with the bag without retrieving the handcuffs.

Soon after, a protester picks up the zip-tie plastic cuffs and uses them to lock the door from the outside, trapping officers inside a foyer where rioters begin to spray them with fire extinguishers. The officer struggled to break through the handcuff-locked door, eventually getting out as they gasp for fresh air after being exposed to the gases from the extinguishers.

Later, the officers leave the bag and hardshell case unattended in the same foyer as rioters breach the premises, allowing the flag-waving protester to grab both bags and walk off with them into the rowdy crowd. A short while later, other protesters return the bag and case to the same door, but rifle through them and remove some equipment, including what appears to be a police riot helmet.

Loudermilk told Just the News on Tuesday he found the footage troubling and "very strange" and plans on investigating it among many new security breaches his investigation of the Jan. 6 tragedy has unearthed in recent weeks.

"The more that we look at these 44,000 hours of video, we start finding these anomalies that the January 6 Select Committee obviously chose to ignore. And this is very strange, and and we have many questions as you do," Loudermilk told the Just the News, No Noise television show that first aired the footage.

"One thing we know, this was a failure of command and control within the Capitol Police because of an intelligence failure," he added. "And as well as the the over politicization of the Capitol Police by members of leadership."

Capitol Police, the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment about whose gear was in the bags or whether any of the people seen on the video have been charged with crimes. 

Just the News reviewed hundreds of criminal cases filed against J6 defendants but could not find any charges that appear to refer to the specific incident caught on the footage. A few defendants were charged with using zip-ties elsewhere in the Capitol.

Multiple current and former Capitol Police officers who reviewed the footage at Just the News' request said the bag of gear looked like those carried by officers in the protective detail division of the department but they could not be sure if the gear officially belonged to officers or was brought in by outsiders. 

They stressed the failure of officers to retain control of the gear once they had it in their possession is troubling. "One of the first things you are taught at the academy is don't lose control of any of your equipment that can be used against you," one recently retired Capitol Police supervisor told Just the News, speaking only on condition of anonymity.

Loudermilk is holding a high-profile oversight hearing Wednesday with the Capitol Police inspector general, and plans to raise questions about the newly unearthed footage. The U.S. Capitol Police Inspector General was not available to comment before publication of the story.

The Georgia Republican said the gear bag could have been filled with riot gear typically used by police during protests. 

"We had the civil disturbance units that were in position but they were told because of the optics, they weren't allowed to have their riot gear; that it was restored in buses close by," he said. "Maybe this was some of that riot gear that was actually being brought in."

Addressing the rioter using the zip-ties on the doors from the outside, Loudermilk said it appears that the rioter could have been acting in coordination with someone on the inside.

"From my intelligence background, investigative background, the first thing I think of is, is this guy coordinating with the people on the inside because you've got people inside who are about to, you know, go after these officers with extinguishers? Were they coordinating together or was this just circumstance?" he said.

"There's just so many unanswered questions that all of this is important to ensuring that we can secure the capital in the future and quite frankly, this is the type of thing that the January 6th Select Committee should have been doing but instead they decided to take it a full political path and no one has really addressed these security failures until we're looking into it," he added.

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