Jan. 6 video of Capitol rioter fist-bumping police raises questions

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By usawebstories

A video capturing a Capitol rioter fist-bumping police is raising questions across social media about the events that transpired on January 6, 2021.

Hundreds of Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building on January 6 in a bid to stop the 2020 presidential election result from being certified after Trump baselessly said that it had been stolen from him via widespread voter fraud. In the ensuing violence, several people including Capitol Police members died, while over 100 Capitol Police officers were injured.

On Friday, House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, announced that his office would be releasing the complete archive of Capitol riot security footage, roughly 44,000 hours in total, after releasing an initial batch of footage totaling 90 hours. He had previously promised to release the footage during his run for the office of speaker.

A number of short clips from the footage were shared to X, formerly Twitter, with one video in particular raising questions about the events of that day as the video shows a Capitol rioter in handcuffs being escorted, but is soon released and is seen fist-bumping police.

A group of pro-Trump protesters climb the walls of the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. A video capturing a Capitol rioter fist-bumping police is raising questions across social media about the events that transpired on January 6.
Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Radio and podcast host John Cremeans questioned the events in the video by asking, “A Fist Bump? WTH! Capitol Police uncuff a January 6th Protestor and give him a fist bump. Something is definitely not right about the J6 Pelosi narrative.”

X user Fighting For the Truth wrote, “Capitol police fist bump with J6r inside the Capitol. They were welcomed guests. Then arrested. That’s entrapment.”

Jeff Charles, a podcaster and opinion contributor to Newsweek, wrote on X, “Capitol Police take supposed J6er aside, remove his handcuffs, then give him a fist bump. Now, why would they do this? Hmmmmm.”

Conservative commentator Benny Johnson posted to X: “I don’t think Capitol Police would take restraints off of a protester, FIST BUMP him, and then let him go if this were an actual ‘insurrection.'”

Newsweek has reached out to the United States Capitol Police via email for comment.

However, despite the arising questions of the video and the subsequent events of that day, the Republican Accountability Project (RAP), which describes itself as a group of pro-democracy conservatives, wrote on X on Friday that the footage was being used selectively.

RAP shared a video montage of Trump supporters attacking officers, mixed with the then-president’s speech, and wrote, “Mike Johnson, like Kevin McCarthy and Tucker Carlson before him, is trying to use selective video to whitewash January 6. But we remember what happened: Donald Trump sent a violent mob to the Capitol in an attempt to undermine our democracy.”

Earlier this year, several GOP lawmakers spoke out against former Fox News host Tucker Carlson for how he used footage from the riot that was given to him by then-Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Carlson who shared portions of those video clips on his Fox News program and said they showed the rioters as peaceful “sightseers” and not “insurrectionists,” lead to criticism from some, including Senator Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican, who called Carlson’s portrayal of the Capitol assault “a lie.”

Meanwhile, the bipartisan House select committee that was in charge of investigating the riot published a 845-page report last December that held Trump personally responsible for the insurrection and recommended he face criminal charges.

Trump was indicted on four counts in August by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in relation to the Capitol riot, including conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights. Trump has pled not guilty and has said that the case against him is politically motivated as he remains the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.