In Wake of Rioting, Bowser Declares, Then Extends Public Emergency


In reaction to the invasion of the U.S. Capitol by a ragtag army of supporters of President Donald Trump’s false claim of election fraud — many in sweatshirts printed with MAGA CIVIL WAR JANUARY 6, 2021 — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a public emergency on Jan. 6, ordering a District-wide curfew for all persons except essential workers and the media from 6 p.m. that evening until 6 a.m. the following day, Thursday, Jan. 7.

The mayor soon ordered an extension of the public emergency, authorizing the city administrator to “implement such measures as may be necessary or appropriate to protect persons and property in the District of Columbia,” for 15 days, through 3 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21, the day after the presidential inauguration.

The second order reads, in part: “Many persons came to the District armed and for the purpose of engaging in violence and destruction and have engaged in violence and destruction. They have fired chemical irritants, bricks, bottles, and guns. They have breached the security of the Capitol and their destructive and riotous behavior has the potential to spread beyond the Capitol.

“Their motivation is ongoing. Today, they sought to disrupt the Congressional proceedings relating to the acceptance of electoral college votes. President Trump continues to fan rage and violence by contending that the Presidential election was invalid. Persons are dissatisfied with judicial rulings and the findings of State Boards of Elections, and some persons can be expected to continue their violent protests through the inauguration.”

During the breach of the Capitol, which began around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, interrupting the certification of electoral college votes in a joint session of Congress — and forcing senators, members of Congress, Capitol Hill staffers and media representatives to be moved to safety or to shelter in place — a woman who was among the rioters, Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, 35, was shot by Capitol Police and later died.

Acting Metropolitan Police Chief Robert J. Contee III said there were three other deaths associated with the hours-long occupation, due to “medical emergencies.” According to MPD, a total of 80 people have been arrested since Monday, Jan. 4, all but four from outside the District.

The Capitol was declared secure and the joint session resumed around 6 p.m. President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was certified after 3 a.m. on Jan. 7. Normally a pro-forma ceremony, the process was lengthened due to futile challenges — fewer in number than originally expected, due to the shock of what many are calling an insurrection, broadcast worldwide — from Republican senators and representatives.

District Council members, including Ward 2 representative Brooke Pinto, condemned the rioting, incited by Trump’s address at that morning’s rally at the Ellipse (though it had clearly been planned for weeks), and called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked to remove Trump from office.

Noting that “Mayor Bowser also called upon the US National Guard for assistance, and the US Department of Defense denied this request for hours — endangering Members of Congress, staff, and District residents,” Pinto stated: “The actions of these insurgents and the behavior of President Trump are abhorrent and reprehensible. Moreover, the President’s rhetoric and lack of leadership during this time of crisis are an affront to our democracy. Once again, President Trump has made clear that he is unfit for the Oval Office and that the 25th amendment should be invoked.

“I am deeply disappointed that yesterday’s insurgents stormed the halls of Congress with very little consequence, while the memory of peaceful protestors being met with excessive force, chemical irritants, and senseless violence this past summer continues to stain our memories. This provocation represents a double standard in our society, and it is deeply troubling and unacceptable. I implore the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the United States Attorney’s Office, and the District’s Office of the Attorney General to pursue action against those responsible for yesterday’s attacks to the fullest extent of the law.”

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