As authorities get to work arresting and charging the perpetrators of the January 6 riots at the US Capitol, which left five dead, new evidence reveals the extent of violence suffered by police officers.
According to court documents, bodycam footage from police officers, as well as posts on social media, showed that officers were beaten with a number of weapons, including an American flag.
One rioter, Robert Sanford, a retired fireman from Pennsylvania, allegedly threw a fire extinguisher at a group of police officers, striking three of them in the head.
Sanford’s lawyer told Associated Press that his client got ‘caught up in the mob mentality’.
Another insurgent, who is currently facing charges, allegedly entered the Capitol through a broken window. Accused of inciting the crowd, he shouted into a bullhorn: ‘If you have a weapon, you need to get your weapon. This is not a peaceful protest.’
A third man, Peter Stager, is accused of beating an officer with a flagpole holding an American flag. The officer was then dragged to the ground and surrounded by a group of rioters, as per CNN.
Stager claimed that he thought he was attacking a member of the Antifa group and didn’t know he was a police officer. However, photographs from the scene show that the officer is clearly wearing a police vest.
As the number of complaints against rioters increase, officials have said the details of violence which will emerge will be disturbing.
‘People are going to be shocked by some of the egregious contact that happened in the Capitol,’ acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin said.
One police officer, Michael Fanone, suffered a small heart attack after a group of mobsters pinned him to the ground and repeatedly tasered his neck.
He told CNN that as he lay injured on the ground following the attack, he could feel rioters stripping him of his ammunition, police radio and badge.
‘Some guys started getting a hold of my gun and they were screaming out, ‘Kill him with his own gun,’ Fanone said.
Investigators are also looking into the level of planning that was taken ahead of the attack. They now have enough evidence to indicate that the riots were not just a protest that got out of control, law enforcement said.
‘Certainly some things that we saw on the ground were some indication that there were some coordination going on, but I think as we get further into the investigation, a lot of that will be revealed,’ Robert Contee, acting MPD Chief said.
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