Washington, D.C., and all 50 states are preparing for what could be could be violent protests this weekend ahead of Wednesday’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Just 10 days ago, violent rioters breached the U.S. Capitol, raising questions about law enforcement’s preparation and response. As chatter grows about the potential for armed protests in state capitols on Sunday, many states have activated National Guard troops. In D.C., the Capitol is heavily fortified and thousands of National Guard members are in place. The National Mall is closed. Keep refreshing this page for updates on security and protests from across the US.
Scattered, small protests at state capitols on Saturday
A group of about a dozen supporters of President Donald Trump — some with “Trump 2020” hats, others wearing military garments — gathered outside the Texas Capitol gates Saturday afternoon.
The agency closed the Capitol on Friday after Texas Department of Public Safety Director Col. Steve McCraw said the agency had become aware of “armed protests” planned at the Capitol over the weekend.
Some of the people outside the Capitol on Saturday wore protective vests and camouflage clothing. At least one man was seen carrying a rifle and another had a large knife and zip ties attached to his belt strap.
Other Saturday protests across the nation were similarly small.
A “Save Our State” protest rally was scheduled for the Illinois State Capitol at noon Saturday. But soon after its scheduled start, two protesters were outnumbered by 10 members of the news media.
A small group of protesters gathered near the Nevada Capitol on Saturday. A handful of Capitol police watched as people stood with signs where protesters had been gathering on a weekly basis since last summer. Some of the participants were armed.
And all was quiet Saturday morning at the Oregon State Capitol, except for two protestors: A woman holding a sign that said, “White supremacy is terrorism,” and a man carrying a sign that said, “Don’t impeach Trump.”
– Heather Osbourne, Austin American-Statesman; Capi Lynn, (Salem, Ore.) Statesman Journal; Brenden Moore, (Springfield, Ill.) State Journal-Register; Terell Wilkins, Jason Bean and Brian Duggan, Reno(Nevada) Gazette Journal
Police, FBI seek help identifying suspect who attacked officer in viral video
D.C. Police and the FBI are asking the public for help identifying a man that attacked a Capitol police officer in a video of the Jan. 6 riot that went viral.
“During the insurrection at the United States Capitol, the suspect assaulted and used a clear police shield to pin MPD Officer Daniel Hodges in a door jam,” says a press release published Friday by the Metropolitan Police Department.
The viral video showed Hodges, 32, screaming in pain as he was simultaneously crushed in a doorway and beat by the crazed mob — including with his own baton. He later told reporters he thought he was going to die.
In an interview with the local D.C. NBC affiliate, Hodges said, “If it wasn’t my job, I would have done that for free. It was absolutely my pleasure to crush a white nationalist insurrection … we’ll do it as many times as it takes.”
Photos of the suspect were included in the release, and posted on Twitter. The public is advised to call police if they have any information, and a reward is being offered.
Who has been arrested:USA TODAY is tracking charges related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot
State Capitols: What security measures are in place?
►The Texas Department of Public Safety announced the closure of the state Capitol on Friday after uncovering new intelligence that prompted the agency to further tighten up security.
► The Kentucky Capitol grounds in Frankfort will be closed on Sunday after “domestic terror threats against state capitols all over” the U.S., Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration announced Friday.
► Michigan, which was targeted by armed anti-lockdown protesters earlier this year and an alleged extremist plot to kidnap its governor, activated its National Guard and was boarding up windows at state buildings Friday.
► California Gov. Gavin Newsom mobilized 1,000 members of the National Guard as the state also erected a temporary chain link fence around its Capitol. The California Highway Patrol has refused to issue permits for rallies that had been planned there.
►Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis activated the Florida National Guard on Friday. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered the state’s guard to prepare for potential activity. About 450 National Guard members in Pennsylvania will be among law enforcement at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Gov. Tom Wolf said. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has activated 250 members of the Illinois National Guard. Plywood started going up at the state Capitol Friday morning.
►New Jersey state employees have been ordered to work remotely the day of Biden’s inauguration, because of the “level of tension in the country,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday.
►The Kansas Statehouse will beef up security measures, closing down visitor access to parking, giving keycard access only through the visitor entrance and requiring those with keycard access to show badges. In Ohio, several “several hundred” officers will be in the Capitol Square area Sunday.
Go in-depth: Why the National Guard’s absence at Capitol riots shows lack of preparation, distrust after heavy-handed BLM response.
More suspects arrested, charged after Capitol riot; one woman says, ‘I listen to my president’
Authorities around the country have arrested dozens of people who stormed the Capitol in the Jan. 6 riot, including a Dallas woman who said she’s a “normal person” who listened to her president.
Jenna Ryan, 50, is accused of “knowingly” entering or remaining in the restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, according to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI in a Washington federal court. Prosecutors say she took a private jet to D.C.
In an interview with KTVT-TV in Fort Worth, Ryan said she hoped that Trump would pardon her. “I just want people to know I’m a normal person, that I listen to my president who told me to go to the Capitol, that I was displaying my patriotism while I was there and I was just protesting and I wasn’t trying to do anything violent and I didn’t realize there was actually violence,” Ryan said.
Two other men, Robert L. Bauer of Kentucky and his cousin, Edward Hemenway of Winchester, Virginia, pleaded not guilty to trespassing and knowingly entering a restricted building or grounds. They appeared in federal court Friday.
Bauer and Hemenway told the FBI after rushing into the building with the crowd, one Capitol Police officer greeted them with a hug and handshake and told them, “It’s your house now,” according to the complaint.
Meanwhile, a federal judge in Washington on Friday night halted a plan to release and put on house arrest the Arkansas man photographed sitting at a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Richard Barnett will instead be brought to Washington, D.C., immediately for proceedings in his case, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ordered Friday night, staying a decision by another judge to confine Barnett to his home in Gravette, Arkansas, until his trial.
In Arizona, far-right social medial personality Tim “Baked Alaska” Gionet posted bond on Friday, one day after a Scottsdale judge issued an arrest warrant when Gionet was a no-show for a City Court hearing on whether he had violated terms of a previous release by traveling to Washington, D.C., for what became the U.S. Capitol riot.
Judge James Blake said Gionet violated his release conditions when he left Arizona and livestreamed last week from Washington, D.C. He was seen interviewing random people on the street the night before the riot. The next day, he livestreamed from inside the historic building as thousands of people overran Capitol Hill and drove lawmakers into hiding.
National Mall closed through Jan. 21
Amid anticipation of possible violence over the weekend and at the presidential inauguration, The National Mall will be closed from Jan. 15 through Jan. 21, the National Park Service announced Friday.
While activities tied to the presidential inauguration and free speech events with permits will be allowed to continue in specified areas, the Park Service said, large swaths of the Mall will be closed.
The area stretches over 2 miles from the Lincoln Memorial on the west end to the U.S. Capitol on the east. The Park Service said areas near the U.S. Navy Memorial and John Marshall Park, off the main stretch of the Mall, will be designated locations for existing permit holders.
Washington Monument:Closed until after Joe Biden’s inauguration in wake of Capitol riots
Arizona man who stormed Capitol in fur horn hat ordered to DC for trial
The Phoenix man who stormed the U.S. Capitol in a fur hat with horns and carrying a spear goaded rioters to ignore police commands and continue to press on into the U.S. Senate chamber, where he left a threatening note for Vice President Mike Pence, prosecutors say.
In a hearing Friday in federal court in Phoenix, a judge ordered Jake Angeli remain in custody, as he has been all week, and to be transported to face charges in Washington, D.C.
Prosecutors argue that Chansley must be detained due to his past criminal record and belief in harmful conspiracies like QAnon, as well as his belief that he is an alien, which may indicate “serious risks that he will flee and obstruct or attempt to obstruct justice.”
– Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic
More coverage and stories from USA TODAY
► Did rioters have help from members of Congress?: Democrats call for formal investigations, citing an unusual uptick in visitors in MAGA gear before the attempted coup.
► As the inauguration nears for President-elect Biden, security officials are confronting a daunting challenge laid bare by the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.
► Armed “militias” are illegal. Will authorities finally crack down?
► Fact check: What’s true about the Capitol riot, from antifa to BLM to Chuck Norris
Contributing: Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY; Associated Press