WASHINGTON – Now that the Capitol has been cleared and operations are returning to normal, the FBI has the daunting task of identifying rioters who attacked police officers and stormed the Capitol building.
Thousands of President Donald Trump supporters demonstrated in D.C. Wednesday ahead of Congress certifying the Electoral College votes confirming that Joe Biden won the presidential election in November.
Things turned violent in the afternoon and the outnumbered Capitol police couldn’t stop mobs from entering the Senate chamber, where lawmakers had been preparing to certify the results.
Four people, including a woman who was shot, died during the uprising.
MPD seeks assistance in identifying persons of interest responsible for Unlawful Entry offenses that occurred yesterday on US Capitol Grounds, 100 block of 1st Street, NW.— DC Police Department (@DCPoliceDept) January 7, 2021
More photos: https://t.co/i2Hbv1bkPh
Have info? Call (202) 727-9099/text 50411 pic.twitter.com/yWIPEaxxFW
The lockdown was lifted hours later and Congress was eventually able to confirm Biden’s win.
Almost at the same time as the attacks began, images started flooding social media showing men and women -- many with their faces clearly visible -- engaging in criminal acts.
United States Capitol Police Chief of Police Steven Sund said the events he witnessed Wednesday were unprecedented.
“The violent attack on the U.S. Capitol was unlike any I have ever experienced in my 30 years in law enforcement here in Washington, D.C. Maintaining public safety in an open environment – specifically for First Amendment activities – has long been a challenge. The USCP had a robust plan established to address anticipated First Amendment activities. But make no mistake – these mass riots were not First Amendment activities; they were criminal riotous behavior. The actions of the USCP officers were heroic given the situation they faced, and I continue to have tremendous respect in the professionalism and dedication of the women and men of the United States Capitol Police,” he said in a written statement.
This driver's license photo from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), provided to AP by the Calvert County Sheriffs Office, shows Ashli Babbitt. Babbitt was fatally shot by an employee of the Capitol Police inside the U.S. Capitol building in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, while the rioters were moving toward the House chamber. (Maryland MVA/Courtesy of the Calvert County Sheriffs Office via AP)
Trump said those found guilty of crimes on the Capitol could face up to 10 years in prison. First, though, they’ll need to be identified.
The FBI has created a webpage where members of the public can submit photos and videos from the riot along with information identifying those involved. The website is available here.
The Metropolitan Police Department also launched a similar effort. The department has posted several pictures on its website and social media pages in hopes of identifying certain individuals.
Tips can be submitted by calling 202-727-9099 or texting 50411.