A never-seen-before video from inside the U.S. Capitol building uploaded this week shows protesters speaking with Capitol Police officers during the Jan. 6 breach.
The officer, who is inaudible at times, is heard telling the protesters at one point, “We’re not against … you need to show us,” before saying, “No attacking, no assault, remain calm.”
One of the individuals seen in the video is Jacob Chansley, known as the “Q Shaman”—who faces charges including civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building. The short clip shows Chansley apparently telling other protesters that “this has to be peaceful” and that “we have the right to peacefully assemble.”
The video also shows another protester saying, “The police here are willing to work with us and cooperate peacefully—like our First Amendment allows,” and said that they wanted to “peacefully discuss what needs to be done to save our country.”
Chansley’s comments may contradict what prosecutors said in a complaint in January when they alleged that the officer who is seen speaking in the video, Keith Robishaw, had “calmed the protesters somewhat and directed them to leave the area from the same way they had entered.” The documents then alleged that “Chansley disobeyed the order” from Robishaw and also alleged the officer was “alone with more than 25 rioters in the Senate Chamber.”
Then, the documents asserted, “Chansley ran up on the dais where Vice President [Mike] Pence had been presiding just minutes before, and begin posing on the dais for other rioters to document and photograph, and wrote a note to Vice President Pence saying, ‘It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.’”
Chansley, who doesn’t have a criminal record, has been detained since January and was denied bail while awaiting trial. Prosecutors said that he should be ordered to remain in jail due to a flight risk. During an interview in March, Chansley told CBS that his “actions were not an attack on this country” and added that he “also stopped people from stealing and vandalizing that sacred space, the Senate.”
The Capitol Police also responded to the video and told the left-leaning fact-checking website Politifact the claim that officers gave the protesters permission to enter is misleading.
“There is no evidence of misconduct [by police] in the short video clip,” a Capitol Police spokesperson told the website. “The officers are blocking the hallway and attempting to deescalate the situation, as they are trained to, by telling the crowd to not attack or assault and to remain calm.”
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