On January 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob was allowed to violently breach the Capitol in an attempt to stop the formal certification of Joe Biden’s election as the next president. There’s a term for that: armed insurrection. And there must be accountability.
Millions of Americans watched the violence play out in real time. And millions of Americans deserve answers about why the planned protest descended into violent chaos, and why the mob was allowed to storm the Capitol, fly confederate flags, force legislators into hiding, and then freely walk away six hours later after injuring a Capitol Police officer who ultimately died.
The delayed response from law enforcement stood in sharp contrast to other protests held at the Capitol, and was particularly frustrating given the highly militarized response to racial justice protests last summer. We know that law enforcement can respond quickly when they want to, and the failure in this case put our democracy in danger and resulted in at least five deaths.
Was the government caught without a plan? Were D.C. and the federal government unable to coordinate? Or worse: did the federal government, at President Trump’s direction, know the threat was real but intentionally hold back resources that could have prevented the insurrection?
CREW launched a wide-ranging investigation into agencies’ intelligence about the threat of the protests, their plans to respond, and reasons for the delay. CREW requested records from both the federal government and the city of Washington, D.C. in order to get a full understanding of the situation on January 6th, and why law enforcement agencies failed so miserably to secure the Capitol. CREW also asked the D.C. police department for body camera footage capturing any confrontations or breaches of security barriers surrounding the Capitol.
On March 4, 2021, CREW sued the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Department of the Army and Department of the Interior for records related to the January 6, 2021 violent insurrection attempt on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters, following the departments’ failure to turn over responsive records.