Who are the rioters who stormed the Capitol?
The rioters were comprised of QAnon conspiracy theorists, right-wing Proud Boys and six Republican lawmakers. So far 82 arrests have been made.
Wednesday saw disturbing scenes from Washington as a rabble of Trump supporters made up of conspiracy theorists, right-wing groups and fringe factions stormed the US Capitol. Once inside they broke into offices and made themselves at home, some walking off with property and others did more unspeakable acts. The insurrection resulted in the death of five people.
Prior to marching on the US Capitol they had been worked up into a frenzy by Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Guiliani and the President himself, vowing to go with the crowd which he didn’t, to demand that Republican lawmakers try to overturn the election results that made Joe Biden President-elect, not him. But the seeds of the mass gathering that turned violent had its seeds planted weeks earlier.
Extremists signaled their intention to take Capitol
The event had been broadcast for weeks beforeon social media where far-right groups publicly discussed their plans to storm the US Capitol. The President encouraged people to come saying it “will be wild!” while far-right groups publicly discussed their plans to storm the US Capitol. However the US Capitol Police were not prepared when the hordes descended.
The US Capitol Police Chief, Steven Sund, resigned on Thursday after coming under heavy criticism for his handling of the events. Sund had underestimated the crowd and deemed the protest to be “First Amendment activities,” and turned down assistance initially. There was no hard perimeter set up around the Capitol.
Other agencies, the Mayor and officials from around the region had been watching and preparing to react in the event that the protest turned violent. They had in place mutual-aid requests to be ready to assist the DC Police. When the US Capitol was overrun, agents from as far away as New Jersey came.
The National Guard was eventually called in as well but the initial requests by Capitol Police were denied by the Secretary of the Army. Officials are unsure why the request was denied despite DC Mayor Muriel Bowser pleading for more reinforcements.
Republican lawmakers in the crowds
There were at least six Republican lawmakers in the crowds that surrounded the Capitol and one has been arrested for entering the Capitol with the mob. West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans posted a video of himself entering the building but said that he was there as an independent journalist. He was taken into custody and charged on Friday.
A Tennessee state lawmaker Terri Lynn Weaver was also at the march. Weaver described the event as being “Epic and historic day gathering with fellow Patriots from all over the nation in DC.” Legislation was introduced Friday requiring state authorities to investigate any resident who participated in events at the Capitol. The bill also states that it would be grounds for an elected official to be removed from office.
In addition, there have been calls for the resignation of Virginia state Senator Amanda Chase and Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano who participated in the march. Both deny having entered the Capitol. Mastriano arranged for a busload of people from his state to attend.
Michigan State Representative Matt Maddock was also in DC with his wife a Michigan GOP activist. Meshawn Maddock organized busloads of Trump supporters to go to DC too. Her participation is not sitting well with her state party as she is the unopposed candidate to be the co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party according to the Detroit Free Press.
Missouri State Representative Justin Hill skipped his swearing-in ceremony to be in DC but says that he didn’t enter the Capitol.
The more colorful characters are slowly being identified and arrested
The “Stop the Steal” rally in front of the White House that led to the march on the Capitol drew people from around the US. State authorities are trying to track down individuals who participated in the seditious acts that took place in and around the Capitol. Some of those people have already been identified and arrested, others for the time being have lost their jobs for their participation.
One of the most recognizable figures from the invasion of the US Capitol was a man with a painted face, fur hat and a helmet with horns, brandishing a spear with an American flag. According to CNN his name is Jake Angeli, from Arizona. He is known by followers as the QAnon Shaman and was seen standing shirtless atop the Senate.
The other widely seen image of the defiling of the Capitol is of a man kicked back in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's chair with his feet up on her desk. Richard Barnett hails from Arkansas and is now in police custody facing three federal charges of entering and remaining on restricted grounds, violent entry and theft of public property.
Two other infamous personalities that participated in the mayhem come from right-wing fringe movements. The founder of Proud Boys Hawaii, a far-right white chauvinist group, Nick Ochs who is now in custody. Another who was identified but as of yet is not in custody is Tim Gionet, who livestreamed video of himself inside the building for more than 25 minutes. He is an alt-right online troll who goes by the pseudonym "Baked Alaska.”