Jan 7, 2021
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser Press Conference Day After Capitol Riot Transcript January 7
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser held a press conference on January 7 to deliver updates on the violent riot at the Capitol. Read the transcript of the briefing here.
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Speaker 1: (01:08)
And, now we bring you the following live press announcement from DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. Our regularly scheduled program will resume following the announcement.
Muriel Bowser: (01:21)
Good morning. I’m Muriel Bowser. I’m the Mayor of Washington DC. I’m here to provide an update, to provide the public with the District’s posture and update on the acts of domestic terrorism and sedition that unfolded in the Nation’s Capitol yesterday, I’m joined by members of my team, including the Chief of Police, Robert Conti, and the Director of Homeland Security, Chris Rodriguez. We are also joined by the Secretary of the Army, Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who will be available to answer your questions as well. I want to begin by thanking DC residents for heeding our call on to stay at home during the last two days. You did your part to keep our city safe. What we saw was an affront, not only to our democracy, but also to our values, the values that make the District of Columbia, a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive city. I also want to thank the men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department for responding to the United States Capitol Police’s request yesterday for backup and quickly restoring order to the Capitol Building. Their heroic acts yesterday demonstrate what true patriotism is.
Muriel Bowser: (02:53)
Chief Conti and I had the … I joined Chief in touring the city last night and had the opportunity to see our police at work. So, we want to thank them for everything that they do, not only in supporting the federal response, but keeping our city safe as well. Overnight, as expected, the Congress affirm President Elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and it is official that certification. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take the Oath of Office on January 20th, to be the 46th President of the United States of America. We know, and we all knew that the end result of this free and fair election would be the Oaths that they take on January 20th. This should send a clear message to our nation and the world, that despite actions of an unhinged President and those that believe the baseless conspiracies that have been peddled by him by other elected officials, that the United States remains strong.
Muriel Bowser: (04:12)
Our democracy is prevailing. Decency is prevailing, and hope and change are on the horizon. While it seems like a lifetime ago, it was just yesterday that we received the final election results out of the State of Georgia. I want to congratulate Senator, what I’m going to call him, Reverend Senator Warnock and Senator Elect Ossoff. I also want to make a few priorities clear for the new Congress, that are very important to the District. First, we must get statehood on the President’s desk within the first 100 days of the 117th Congress. Congress must immediately transfer command of the District of Columbia National Guard from the President of the United States and put it squarely under the command and control of the Mayor of the District of Columbia. The Congress must create a nonpartisan commission to understand the catastrophic security failures that happened at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021, both to hold people accountable and to ensure that it never happens again.
Muriel Bowser: (05:28)
We must also understand why the federal law enforcement response was much stronger at the protest over the summer, than during yesterday’s attack on Congress. I also call on the Joint Terrorism Task Force to investigate, arrest and prosecute any individual who entered the Capitol, destroyed property or incited acts of domestic terrorism observed yesterday. More immediately, we know that the current President must be held accountable for this unprecedented attack on our democracy. What happened yesterday is what he wanted to happen, and we must not underestimate the damage he can do to our nation and our democracy over the next two weeks. It’s not just the President who must be held accountable. So too, must their domestic terrorists who stormed the Capitol and threatened Members of Congress. What happened yesterday is terrorism. Let me read you a definition. Its from the Federal Code of Regulations. It’s defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof and furtherance of political or social objectives.”
Muriel Bowser: (06:55)
The FBI has already set up a website where Americans can report tips, and today MPD is releasing its own look out information. Any tips that are reported to MPD will also be shared with the FBI. So, I encourage Washingtonians who can provide information to do so by texting 50411, 50411 or by calling (202) 727-9099. We are still in the midst of our response. We have aided the federal government in establishing the security of the United States Capitol. These incidents were contained to the United States Capitol and its grounds. We will review for ourselves what occurred yesterday to commend those who perform heroically and to learn what mistakes were made. With that, I want to ask Chief Conti to provide any update from the Metropolitan Police Department, followed by a situational update from Secretary McCarthy.
Robert Conti: (07:59)
Thank you, Mayor Bowser and good morning everyone. As communities across the country are still processing the images of the violent mob that stormed the US Capitol, I want to start this morning by thanking the members of the Metropolitan Police Department. When US Capitol Police called for assistance, it was you that answered their call without hesitation. Your actions to restore democracy were nothing short of heroic and should be recognized. As MPD members, you serve the DC community each and every day, but yesterday evening you answered the call to serve all Americans. Many of you here today understand that the District is unique in respect to the number of law enforcement agencies operating in local DC, the many federal buildings and National Parklands. But I have seen some misinformation out there that I would like to clear up. MPDs responsibility is to provide public safety services to the vibrant communities that make up this great city. MPD assisted US Capitol Police when they requested our assistance on their grounds.
Robert Conti: (09:12)
What we did do, was restore democracy for all of America and assisted our partners, the US Capitol, and their approximately 2000-member force, by providing a swift response to an escalating situation. MPD members will continue to be responsible for local DC, but we are willing and capable, as we saw yesterday, of assisting our partners at any moment. Again, when US Capitol Police call for assistance, MPD answer the call. I would also be remiss if I did not recognize the support we received from our law enforcement partners, regionally and the DC National Guard assets. Please allow me to provide an update in regards to arrests made by MPD, related to unrest. There were 68 individuals arrested yesterday evening and into the early morning hours of January 7th. Of the 68 arrests, 60 were adult males and eight were adult females. 41 of those arrests occurred on US Capitol grounds, and to my knowledge, only one of the arrestees is from the District of Columbia.
Robert Conti: (10:21)
I just want to underscore that. Only one of the arrestees was from the district of Columbia. However, we still have a significant amount of work ahead of us to identify and hold each and everyone of the violent mob accountable for their actions. We have collected numerous images of persons of interest that we are asking the community to help us identify. These images depict individuals engaged in various acts of violence or property destruction. We have made these images available on our website and social media platforms. We shared these images last night with the DC BIDs, the Hotel Associations and other community partners, along with the FBI. We also have shared these images with the regional airport authorities. As we speak, we have members of the Metropolitan Police Department that are scouring the area hotels, businesses, et cetera, trying to identify some of these individuals that still may be taking up residence within our city. The FBI, we’re working closely with them to aggressively pursue those responsible for these shameful and violent acts.
Robert Conti: (11:34)
You can help by taking a moment to view them and provide us with assistance. Again, they have been publicly released on our website. Anyone with information on their identities or whereabouts is encouraged to reach out to MPD at (202) 727-9099 or text us at 50411. Information can be provided anonymously. In addition to what I’ve already mentioned, we will also be sending these images out across the country, to the FBI offices in every state. We have authorized a reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of persons responsible, and I should add that we already are receiving information and tips, and valuable tips in from residents and people who have identified some of these individuals. We will continue to assist the United States Capitol Police with security, without compromising the quality and professional police service to our district neighborhoods. Residents and visitors should continue to expect traffic disruptions and a large law enforcement presence in and around the National Mall and US Capitol.
Robert Conti: (12:41)
Now, I would like to take this opportunity to provide the identities of the persons that lost their lives yesterday. As I mentioned late yesterday, the Metropolitan Police Department is handling the investigation of the US Capitol Police Officer involved shooting that occurred in the House lobby area. The decedent in that shooting has been identified as 35-year old Ashley-
Robert Conti: (13:02)
Has been identified as 35 year old Ashli [inaudible 00:00:08], also known as Ashli Babbit of Huntington, Maryland. This remains an active MPD investigation. There were three additional deaths that occurred, which we believe all to be the results of medical emergencies. The decedents have been identified as 50 year old Benjamin Phillips of Ringtown, Pennsylvania, 55 year old Kevin Griessen of Athens, Alabama, and 34 year old Roseanne Boyland of Kennesaw, Georgia. Lastly, I would like to thank all of DC and our neighboring jurisdictions in Virginia in Maryland for adhering to the mayors and the governor’s curfew orders. And now I can turn it over to Secretary McCarthy.
Scretary McCarthy: (13:50)
Thank you, Chief Contee, Mayor Bowser. Yesterday was a horrible and shameful day in our history. One thing we did see was incredible leadership by mayor Bowser and Chief Contee and saw the best of the city. When they called us over at the Pentagon, we started getting awareness yesterday afternoon about the breach within the Capitol and quickly worked to move our resources forward in support of Metro PD and the Capitol Police and responded and truly saw some incredibly heroic things from the Metro PD and our DC guardsman, very proud of those men and women. At present, the entire DC national guard has been mobilized. We have also received the support from the state of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York. There will be 6,200 guardsmen in total by the weekend here in the US national Capitol region in support of the DC metropolitan police department, as well as the Capitol Hill police. At present, we have over 150 personnel up on the Capitol grounds and we will have 850 on the Capitol grounds by noon today. At 9:00 AM this morning, we began erecting a seven foot non-scalable fence, which will be from constitution independence, and first Avenue to in front of the pond right there in front of the Capitol that road right there. So these personnel and these security measures will be in place for no less than the next 30 days. And we’ll be keeping all of these support mechanisms in place in constant coordination with the Capitol police and the mayor’s office. Thank you.
Muriel Bowser: (15:47)
Thank you, Mr. Secretary, we should have also noted that we are joined by the deputy mayor, Roger Mitchell, as well as Chief Donnelly, the chief of DC fire, and EMS, and we’re available for questions
Speaker 2: (16:04)
[inaudible 00:16:04] in the house.
Muriel Bowser: (16:12)
Do we have anything available with it? Print it? Can we print them? We’ll get back to you. Okay, thank you.
Pete Muntean: (16:19)
Mayor Bowser, given yesterday, I was out on the streets, I saw-
Muriel Bowser: (16:22)
Can you just introduce yourself before-
Pete Muntean: (16:24)
Pete Muntean with CNN, saw MPD making arrests for the curfew, saw MPD out at the Capitol, it seemed like MPD was out in numbers, but Capitol police were not. What do you say to that? How do you classify Capitol police and their response?
Muriel Bowser: (16:43)
Well I think that there’s going to be a lot of time for us to figure out what happened. Obviously it was a failure or you would not have had the police lines have breached and people enter the Capitol building by breaking windows and terrorizing the people, the members of Congress who were doing a very sacred constitutional requirement of their jobs. So clearly there was a failure there. I think that I won’t be able to answer your question right now. There’s going to have to be a real investigation into what happened. Yes.
Pete Muntean: (17:20)
Do you wish that you got more federal support early on? You sent a letter earlier, before the sixth, saying we don’t necessarily need the federal help when it comes to policing in the district. Do you wish you did something differently there?
Muriel Bowser: (17:33)
Well let me be clear about what the district’s responsibility is. I know that you heard Chief Contee’s remarks, but let me step back a little bit. We, of course, have a nearly 4,000 person police department, and we are responsible for policing non-federal properties in the District of Columbia. And that’s an important distinction, because I think you know, part of our founding in the creation of the district of Columbia was the federal government’s concern that the local jurisdiction could not overtake the federal part of government. And so the Capitol, the White House, and other federal installations in the district have their own police departments, the United States Capitol Police. And we cannot decide for the Capitol, the members of Congress, that we are going to be their police department. But we stand ready to assist them at any case. And that’s why we have so much regional planning for big events, for demonstrations, for protests that turned riotous like this one for the inauguration, for the 4th of July, you name it.
Muriel Bowser: (18:49)
We have a regional cooperation system in planning. Now as we planned with all of our federal partners for this event on January 6th, I made the decision that I needed MPD to focus on law enforcement activities and being able to respond to any hot spots and that’s why we needed our national guard, the DC national guard, to help us maintain a perimeter around our areas of concern. The Capitol police and the leadership at the Capitol, they did not make the decision to call in guard support. I cannot order the army, the National Guard, to the United States Capitol grounds. I can, in the district, with the approval of the secretary of the army. So I guess we called up our guard and we’ve had guard support throughout our COVID pandemic, but specifically for public safety issues, I will issue an additional request to the Army, which I think I did at the end of December, and the secretary of Army approved that request. And we put our guard troops on the ground to support MPD.
Speaker 2: (20:07)
Speaker 3: (20:08)
Mayor, you said there was a state of emergency you were declaring for, I guess, two weeks. What does that mean? How is that different from what we would expect anyway, over the next two weeks?
Muriel Bowser: (20:24)
The state of emergency is a way that I can organize the resources of DC government to move on an emergency basis. So some things that you might expect would have community notice, we may not be able to have that type of notice because we need to move urgently. It helps me organize all of my procurement resources on this issue. That’s all administrative. But more than that, it’s a notice to the public that we may have to do some extraordinary things to maintain public safety. And a curfew is an extraordinary thing that we have to use to maintain public safety. When I tell residents of the District of Columbia to stay in your home or you could be subject to arrest, that’s an extraordinary thing. And the state of emergency puts DC residents, visitors, and our businesses on notice that we may have to do something extraordinary like that, that would require you to stay at home or close your business or stop transit or other public transportation earlier so that we can maintain public safety in the district.
Speaker 3: (21:35)
So it’s just so people are kind of aware that things could happen quickly, because obviously you did a curfew like that yesterday, right?
Muriel Bowser: (21:42)
We gave about four hours, three or four hours notice. It is important when we do a curfew so that everything is legal and the arrests that our officers make are prosecuted, that we follow a certain protocol. We issued a public emergency. We justified why that infringement on people’s liberty is necessary. We give a public statement that you all carry wildly so people are aware. I think we issued several, what do you call those, [inaudible 00:22:19] alerts that went out on people’s cell phones, that includes District residents and people visiting the District. So we make every effort that people can comply with our public safety order. Yes.
Speaker 4: (22:32)
Muriel Bowser: (22:33)
Just please introduce yourself
Speaker 4: (22:35)
[crosstalk 00:22:35] from Fox Five. There was a moment yesterday when a riot was declared, it was the same type of thing that happened during the summer at the protests. Can you run me through some of the things that can happen when the, differences between when you declare a riot and when a state of emergency is declared. Do law enforcement gets certain liberties in one thing and the other-
Muriel Bowser: (22:56)
Sure, let me ask Chief Contee to talk about that.
Robert Conti: (23:01)
Sure, as the mayor mentioned, the state of emergency, it allows the city to do extraordinary things. As she mentioned the curfew, again, a great infringement on just the day-to-day business in the city. In this particular case, when a riot was declared, that means that we have a situation where individuals are actively, violently engaging in crimes. And that’s the clear distinction at the time that the riot was declared. And I believe that was MPD personnel on the grounds of the Capitol that were on the air declaring this a riot. So that’s the distinction between the two, yes.
Speaker 4: (23:46)
Now when a riot is declared, what liberties does that give MPD?
Robert Conti: (23:50)
So for MPD, it may determine the level of force that we use. So for example, in some cases we may use pepper spray. In a riot situation, we could very well use tear gas or CS gas, that kind of thing. So that would be-
Speaker 4: (24:04)
At what time of the right actually called?
Robert Conti: (24:07)
I don’t have the exact time that it was, but I can tell you that MPD was requested around about 1:00 PM is when MPD was requested by US Capitol to respond and things were, were already pretty bad at that point.
Speaker 4: (24:22)
So my question is, over the summer, when the riot was declared, that gave MPD the chance to use these munitions per se. From what happened yesterday, is there a train of thought possibly that maybe declaring a riot earlier could have prevented some of the things that happened?
Robert Conti: (24:39)
No, you can’t declare a riot until you have violent acts occurring. And I think that MPD is very careful about when we do declare a riot to situation. There are situations where we have officers that are having bricks thrown at them, bottles thrown at them, everything you name it, urine, and we have not, in every instance, declared a riot. In this one, we had projectiles being thrown at our officers, and we had people trying to breach the United States Capitol in the nation’s Capitol. I think if anything, that certainly warrants the declaration of a riot. And clearly, we experienced that yesterday.
Muriel Bowser: (25:24)
Hi yes, Michael Brice-Saddler with the Washington Post, for Chief Contee, and perhaps Chief Donnelly, the three decedents who died from medical emergencies yesterday, have we determined whether they were part of the riots or other people who were on Capitol grounds?
Muriel Bowser: (25:41)
What was that question, Michael?
My question was for the three people who died from medical emergencies yesterday.
Muriel Bowser: (25:48)
Robert Conti: (25:50)
There were a lot of people on the grounds of the Capitol yesterday. And I guess the extent that we can say right now is that they were on the grounds of the Capitol when they experienced their medical emergency.
Okay, but you can’t specify-
Robert Conti: (26:02)
I can’t specify.
Robert Conti: (26:03)
Okay. But you can’t specify beyond that?
Robert Conti: (26:03)
I can’t specify.
Okay. And then there was a stabbing yesterday at 12th and Pennsylvania, and separate shootings on 200 K Street Northwest, and also 9th and N Street Northwest. Have police determined if any of those were related to the unrest in the city?
Robert Conti: (26:19)
It does not appear that any of those were related to the unrest in the city, and those matters are actually actively being investigated, but it does not appear they were related.
Robert Conti: (26:28)
And then for Mayor Bowser, could you talk about how the events of yesterday will impact how the city is preparing for the inauguration?
Muriel Bowser: (26:38)
I can’t speak to you with any specifics at this stage, Michael, but we will be looking very closely at what we learned, what’s happening at the Capitol, working with congressional leadership and the Presidential Inauguration Committee.
Okay. Thank you. And then-
Muriel Bowser: (26:56)
But you did hear the Secretary offer two very important points already, that the fencing that is going up around the Capitol, non-scalable fencing, will be in place through the inauguration, and the guard strength that will be coming on the ground by this weekend, up to 6,200 will be available through the inauguration as well.
Scretary McCarthy: (27:25)
Which is a larger composition of personnel than you would have for a standard inauguration.
Thank you. And then just one follow up there for you, Secretary McCarthy. The black fencing, you said at least 30 days, or no more than 30 days, that will be erected?
Scretary McCarthy: (27:39)
At a minimum.
At a minimum, okay. Thank you.
Scretary McCarthy: (27:41)
Yes, and we’ll work that in coordination with the city as well as the Capitol Hill Police.
Muriel Bowser: (27:47)
Mark Segraves: (27:47)
Mark Segraves, NBC Washington. Two questions for the Secretary. One, and I tried to follow along, could you repeat the specifics about the fence? Will it completely surround the US Capitol complex, the fencing?
Scretary McCarthy: (28:02)
Mark Segraves: (28:02)
Could you just give those specifics one more time?
Scretary McCarthy: (28:04)
Yes. So, Constitution to Independence first, and then the road there in front by the pond. It’ll be all the way around.
Mark Segraves: (28:13)
And how high will that be?
Scretary McCarthy: (28:15)
Mark Segraves: (28:16)
Scretary McCarthy: (28:17)
Mark Segraves: (28:18)
Non-scalable. Compare that to what we see at the White House.
Scretary McCarthy: (28:20)
This is what was available. We worked through this solution midstream yesterday, and we were on the phones to get as quickly as possible a capability in place to extend the perimeter of the National Capitol complex. We could get as many Metropolitan Police Officers out into the streets, so that in the event that these, if this was to occur again or downstream, that Chief Contee would have as much flexibility with his police force as possible and we could take over the static security positions.
Mark Segraves: (28:49)
And I appreciate it may not have been your decision, and we know the chief and the mayor said it wasn’t their decision, but what can you tell us about the lack of preparation prior to yesterday on the part of the US Capitol police unit and why in months prior, we saw troops surrounding the US Capitol when other protesters were coming, but yesterday we didn’t see anything? Why were there no troops or any other backup security there yesterday, given what we all knew in the public domain, you must have had better intelligence that we did, but we all knew that this was possible, if not likely?
Scretary McCarthy: (29:26)
Well, we rely on our intelligence from law enforcement and local police, obviously, but with respect to the pre-coordination, to the mayor’s point, those things are all being looked at. There were discussions previously with the Capitol Police and others, and no request of the DC National Guard were made. Obviously it was a different branch of government, so we have to be requested to come onto the grounds.
Muriel Bowser: (29:53)
Jean Recker: (29:53)
Hi, Jean [Recker 00:29:54], Washingtonian. Mayor Bowser, correct me if I’m wrong, my understanding is that with the public emergency, any curfews, business closures, that’s going to be a day-to-day decision based on the threat in the city. Is that correct?
Muriel Bowser: (30:06)
Yes. On the curfew question. Yes.
Jean Recker: (30:08)
All right. And then what can residents expect over the next weeks or so? I mean, I know that there’s supposed to be another meeting of the insurrectionists around the inauguration, but in the interim, what are you expecting? I mean, we have residents questioning, should I take off work to get groceries? When should I walk my dog? What do you foresee in the coming days?
Muriel Bowser: (30:26)
I think DC residents should go about living their lives. And if there is a need, as I did over the weekend leading up to this, to ask them to stay away from certain areas, I will do that. I don’t have that request at this stage. So right now we want them to go about their lives, be signed up for our alert systems. Chris.
Yes. Thank you, mayor. So, we would really encourage our residents and any visitors to the District of Columbia to sign up for Alert DC, and that can be done at alertdc.dc.gov. And so that’s the way that, based on what the mayor and the chief were saying, during an emergency situation, and certainly with the mayor declaring an emergency declaration, we will push real time information to our residents and visitors through Alert DC.
Muriel Bowser: (31:21)
And let me just say something also very specifically, we asked our residents not to participate in counter protest. We asked our residents, even the regional residents, and their county executives and leaders asked them not to participate in counter protest. And I know for a lot of people, I’ve gotten text messages, that was a hard thing to do because they want it to fight back. But just imagine if our police had to also police the protest against the people who seized the Capitol. So it was very important that the police could focus on them. So we’re going to continue to ask our residents to listen to our guidance, but go about your lives. DC government, we’re already on modified operations because of COVID, but our facilities that are having in-person activities continue to do so.
Pete Muntean: (32:24)
Mayor Bowser, how upset does it make you to see the federal response on Black Lives Matter Plaza during the protest there and around Juneteenth, and then see yesterday, by comparison? You mentioned that earlier. How upset does it make you?
Muriel Bowser: (32:40)
What I’m upset about, I’m upset about what this president has done to our city and our democracy. I’m not prone to wild swings of emotion, because we have some work to do to find out what happened to make sure it doesn’t happen again. And that’s my job right now and that’s the job of everybody here. I’m upset that my police officers were put in harm’s way when they were just doing their jobs. I’m even upset that somebody died in that building who was breaking into the building. We should all be upset about all of those things. I am heartened that our police and guards people were able to get control of the building and that our lawmakers went back into that building to vote. I’m upset that 706,000 residents of the District of Columbia did not have a single vote in that Congress yesterday, despite the fact that our people were putting their lives on the line to protect our democracy.
Pete Muntean: (33:50)
How slow did things-
Muriel Bowser: (33:51)
That is how upset we all should be.
Pete Muntean: (33:54)
How slow did things move yesterday? I mean, that must upset you that there wasn’t a more ratcheted up response specifically at the Capitol, but then Secretary McCarthy yesterday spoke about a delay of getting federal forces into the district. How would you classify it?
Muriel Bowser: (34:12)
I’ve classified it already. I think that a more robust presence on the grounds of the Capitol would have prevented people from getting into the building. Yes.
Speaker 4: (34:24)
[inaudible 00:08:25], Fox 5 DC. Mayor, it’s one thing to have a more robust presence on the ground, but when we have Capitol Police just seemingly letting people inside, I was there seeing them letting out, and then to hear that we only have 13 arrests for unlawful entry. It’s one thing to have several officers on the ground, but what do we do if they’re not as effective as possibly should be?
Muriel Bowser: (34:51)
I think you’ve laid out another question that will be subject to investigation. I think that’s an important question. We not only need people, we need effective deployment of those people. Yes.
Sam Ford: (35:05)
Sam Ford with Channel 7. Mayor, what do you all know about these groups like Proud Boys, QAnon, militia group, were they involved in this and are they among the people arrested?
Muriel Bowser: (35:17)
I don’t know that we can say that right now, Chief.
Robert Conti: (35:19)
Yeah. I don’t know that we can say that right now. I think it’s safe to say that we had certainly people who were like-minded with all of the rhetoric that has been going on that did what they did at the US Capitol yesterday. But beyond that, I won’t give credit to any particular group.
Sam Ford: (35:38)
What were the injury numbers, Chief, for the police officers?
Robert Conti: (35:41)
For our police officers, initially we were at 14 initially, but that number went up to about 56 over the course of the night. And I’ve got to tell you, there was a lot of valiant fighting by the members of the Metropolitan Police Department there. At one point, several officers, as a result of munitions and pepper spray and tear gas, being able to step off the line, be triaged quickly and back on the line to try to ensure the safety and security of our Capitol building. So just a tremendous amount of heroic acts. I have one officer who’s still in the hospital right now. He was snatched into a crowd. He was beaten. He was kicked. He was tased several times. So yeah, they fought. They fought very hard yesterday.
Sam Ford: (36:34)
56 MPD officers?
Robert Conti: (36:36)
That’s correct, sir.
Muriel Bowser: (36:39)
Speaker 5: (36:41)
Chief Contee, clarification on the arrests. I’m seeing that 25 arrests were made for curfew violations and unlawful entry on the Capitol grounds. I’m wondering if there were any arrests made just for unlawful entry on the Capitol grounds, or if all of those arrests were on curfew violation?
Robert Conti: (36:56)
So, all of the arrests that occurred after 6:00 PM, the initial group of 25 or 26, whatever it was, those arrests were right on the Capitol grounds. This was after the mayor’s curfew was in effect. We gave the orders. Individuals were still there. Which we’re required to do. We gave the order. Individuals were still there, and we placed those individuals who were there, we placed them under arrest. MPD was able to do that. So that was really kind of the balance. And the goal was for us, as we were able to secure the perimeter and have a strong perimeter to make arrests and then start working our way out. The balance of that was as MPD members worked through the streets of the District of Columbia to ensure the safety and security of our businesses and residents, especially in the immediate area surrounding the Capitol and some of the areas where we know that some of the people that were involved in this were congregating, MPD members were able to make additional arrests over the course of the night.
Speaker 5: (37:56)
So, there were no arrests made for those who unlawfully entered the Capitol building until 6:00 PM?
Robert Conti: (38:02)
Yes ma’am. That’s correct.
Speaker 5: (38:03)
Okay. And then I think people are a little confused at just the low numbers of arrests that were made. I mean, there’s videos of hundreds of people coming into the Capitol. Can you explain a little bit why those numbers are so low? What happens? Did people leave? Is this an issue of not having enough people to manage it?
Robert Conti: (38:18)
Yeah. No, sorry. I can tell you, I mean, probably not many people in this room have been in the midst of a riot or an insurgence like that. And the first thing that you have to do is to re-gain control. You have to establish control of the situation that was going on. The men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department went into a situation that was already out of control. So once control was established and that perimeter was established, then and only then are we able to safely make arrests, because as you begin to make arrests, now we get into additional use of forces, additional injuries of officers and potential additional injuries of the people that we intend on arresting. We have a responsibility to ensure the safety and security, abide by the constitution and all of that. And we intended to do that. So we made the arrests-
Robert Conti: (39:03)
… abide by the constitution and all of that. And we intended to do that. So we made the arrests that we made in front of the Capitol. After that we went forward and we made additional arrests and we will continue to work with our federal partners. There are a lot of people that we have listed on our website. There are a lot of people that are in these images, and we know that there are people across this country who can identify these individuals.
Robert Conti: (39:22)
This is where the community comes in and helps. These a clear images. Some of these images, there’s no mistake about who some of these people are. So, we’re asking our communities to call in. Whether it’s a community here in the district of Columbia, as far as West coast, it really doesn’t matter. Call into your local FBI office, identify who these individuals are and let’s hold them accountable.
Muriel Bowser: (39:44)
Asha Kaleah with the Associated Press. Mayor Bowser just if you were a governor, how would yesterday have gone differently for you? What would you have been able to do differently and what kind of a time?
Muriel Bowser: (40:01)
The difference would be when we become the 51st state or before then, our Congresswoman has a bill in the Congress right now to give the mayor control of the DC National Guard. What’s different is we would not make a request to the secretary of the Army for guards support. We would not be restricted in any way from how to deploy the guard.
Muriel Bowser: (40:28)
So we wouldn’t have to clear a deployment plan with the secretary of the Army. We could be nimble in how we change it. If we have a deployment plan that was approved, for example, that limited the Guard to the traffic box or to ninth street. If we find out during the course of the response that that needs to change dramatically, then I, as mayor slash governor would make that determination. That’s the big difference. What wouldn’t be different as governor would be my ability to put the National Guard on the Capitol steps. I wouldn’t be able to do that as governor. Nor would I be able to use our state police on the grounds of the Capitol. That wouldn’t be different either. Yes. And we’re going to take one more round, and then we’re going to wrap up.
Jean Recker: (41:26)
I want to address some images that are going around on social media of some of the protesters and rioters, celebrating indoors at the Alibi Bar as well as lobbies of some hotels across town, packed into crowds, not wearing masks. What is going to be done? What kind of fines are going to come to these businesses? I realize that the hotels can be a trickier situation with the Alibi, that is a bar that allowed for indoor dining indoor drinking. What’s going to be done with that?
Muriel Bowser: (41:54)
We’ll have to investigate that. I saw one, for example, when we were driving around where that was the case, there may be hotel guests. And we will see what violations of their business license or occurred. Any other … yes, Mark?
Mark Segraves: (42:11)
A question for you, mayor and a question [inaudible 00:42:14]. Mayor, and I know you’ve been asked this in one way before, but what is your fear after we’re seeing what we saw yesterday, what is your fear that could happen on January 20th? And what steps might you take that we haven’t seen thus far that you might be considering to maintain the peace? Do you think there should be a public ceremony?
Muriel Bowser: (42:35)
Well, Mark, I think that we’re obviously concerned about the 20th. We’re concerned about the days leading up to the 20th, but I think we, as Americans have to also ask ourselves, “Is this going to be a new normal in America?” Regardless of if Donald Trump is the president. Are people still going to be inspired to violence and to try to overthrow institutions of our government.
Muriel Bowser: (43:07)
So I think that frame for everybody has to reset, because it may not end on the 20th. And so that for us, as we think about it as the nation’s capital, that means a whole different level of policing. I sit before you right now with a force that’s 3,700 strong, but shrinking. I sit before you with local laws that affect how we approach First Amendment demonstrations that may turn to riots. I sit before you with a hundred million dollar bill that the federal government owes us from the last four years of helping the federal government police First Amendment demonstrations that are increasing in number in complexity. So all of those things, as we move forward, not just for the 20th, but as the mayor, the chief executive of the nation’s Capitol, host to the federal government with a force that supports federal forces. We have a lot to think about if this is going to be a new normal in America.
Mark Segraves: (44:19)
And I would like to follow up with the chief and the secretary about intelligence. What can you tell us about the intelligence you had leading up to yesterday? And was there any intelligence that suggested that there would be an attempted breach of the US Capitol?
Robert Conti: (44:33)
There was no intelligence that suggested that there would be a breach of the US Capitol. The intelligence leading up to that, we won’t talk specifically about the intelligence that we had, but we anticipated certainly that there would be an increased number of people into our city, in comparison to the previous two demonstrations, certainly knew that. But in addition to that, the metropolitan police department, under the mayor’s leadership, not only did we activate the National Guard, but we also initiated mutual aid with several area law enforcement agencies before yesterday. So I think that that’s a really important note to make in terms of our preparation for this. So based on the intelligence, not only did we have the National Guard, but we had the national guard and we had mutual aid services for DC residents for Washington. That’s really, really, really important.
Robert Conti: (45:34)
So I’ll leave it right there.
Scretary McCarthy: (45:38)
And that was why Chief Conti requested us to support traffic control points at 30 separate locations on the North side of the city to prevent vehicular movement. We’re still performing that mission, I was remiss not to mention that at the beginning. We have 850 on the Capitol grounds, as well as 90 additional personnel, three per location at traffic control points, largely on the North side of the city from about ninth to 17th, Northwest. With respect to the posture leading in, we receive our intelligence from law enforcement agencies, whether they’re federal or local. It was the going in position that it would be somewhat similar to November 14th, December 12th, where the types of groups that were there, but had no wildest imagination that you could end up breaching the Capitol grounds.
Muriel Bowser: (46:34)
Okay. That’s our update. Thank you everybody.