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New Body Camera Footage Shows The Violence Against Police During The Capitol Riot

Police hold back rioters gathered outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. New body camera footage released by the Justice Department shows the violence of that day from the perspective of the officers themselves.
Olivier Douliery
AFP via Getty Images
Police hold back rioters gathered outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. New body camera footage released by the Justice Department shows the violence of that day from the perspective of the officers themselves.

Editor's Note: These videos include depictions of violence as well as offensive language.

The Department of Justice has released police body camera footage from the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot showing violent attacks on police defending the building from a pro-Trump mob.

Though previously available videos taken by journalists, civilians, and even some participants in the riot have shown incidents of violence from that day, this new release adds to a growing body of evidence from the perspective of police officers themselves. Nearly 140 police officers suffered injuries during the riot, according to a bipartisan Senate report. NPR has been tracking every criminal case related to the riot, and now more than 500 people are facing charges.

One set of the newly-released videos shows a chaotic scene on the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol building around 2:30 pm on the day, as rioters surrounded a police line and violently assaulted multiple officers, federal prosecutors allege.

The first video shows one officer getting knocked to the ground by one man, identified in charging documents as 42-year-old Brian Mock of Minnesota, as another unidentified man pulls on the officer's leg. The government alleges that Mock then kicked the officer on the ground.

Mock, according to prosecutors, is seen on video wearing jeans, a hooded sweatshirt, a striped mask, and a green hat with an American flag.

The second video, taken four minutes later, allegedly shows Mock again knocking a police officer to the ground, and others in the crowd clashing with police. The blow caused the officer "excruciating pain" as his arm landed on the stairs of the Capitol, prosecutors say.

Soon after, the crowd, some holding pro-Trump and "Stop The Steal" flags, began to chant "USA! USA! USA!" And some rioters at the front of the mob appear to take police riot shields and pass them farther back into the crowd.

Days after the attack, the FBI received a tip stating that Mock had been "bragging about beating up cops and destroying property in the capital [sic]," according to federal court records.

Mock was arrested on June 11, and has been charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers, among other crimes stemming from his alleged involvement in the Capitol siege.

Prosecutors asked a judge to detain Mock pending trial, and stated that he had previously been convicted in 2010 of second degree assault with a dangerous weapon stemming from an "incident in which Mock held a gun to three kids' heads and screamed at them."

Mock's defense attorney noted in a court filing that Mock did not use any weapons on Jan. 6, and argued that "If Mr. Mock did, in fact, kick the unknown officer, such kick occurred in just one moment, whereas other individuals in the crowd engaged the fallen officer further." Regarding the officer that allegedly experienced "excruciating pain" after being shoved by Mock, the defense attorney noted, "that officer did not seek medical treatment, had no long-term effects."

A second set of videos stem from the criminal case against 21-year-old Grady Owens of Florida.

Federal prosecutors allege that Owens attacked police outside the Capitol with a skateboard, and the charges against him include assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon, inflicting bodily injury.

One video introduced as evidence in court shows a group of officers from Washington, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department making their way through an increasingly dense pro-Trump crowd outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, with some calling them "traitors."

Then, just after 2:00 pm, the bodycam footage appears to show a skateboard making contact with one officer's head and a scuffle ensuing between police and the crowd.

Prosecutors allege Owens swung the skateboard at the officer, and subsequently, did "not back away or exhibit any remorse or concern for his behavior." Owens can allegedly be heard yelling at the officers, "How do you live with yourselves?'"

Owens' defense attorney has described him as "a 21-year-old college student with no criminal record who has led a remarkable life helping others." In a court filing, the attorney argued that Owens struck the officer with the skateboard unintentionally, saying "his skateboard became a defensive shield in a split-second encounter with an unknown force that surprised him." A federal judge found that claim "strains credulity," but nonetheless ordered that Owens be released from detention pending trial.

The Department of Justice released the videos after a group of news organizations, including NPR, filed a legal motion requesting that they be made public. The group of news organizations has sought — and secured — the release of several videos from the Jan. 6 attack that had previously been inaccessible.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tom Dreisbach is a correspondent on NPR's Investigations team focusing on breaking news stories.
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