The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Washington Field Office has issued a bulletin calling on members of the public to help identify protesters who broke into the Capitol Building on Wednesday and caused a ruckus.
“#FBI is seeking info that will assist in identifying individuals who are actively instigating violence in Washington, DC,” the domestic security agency indicated in a pair of tweets early Thursday morning.
The FBI specified that it was accepting both tips and digital media “depicting rioting and violence” in the Capitol Building and surrounding area, and urged people “to submit any information photos, or videos that could be relevant” via a special form on the bureau’s website.
At least 52 people have been arrested in connection with Wednesday’s events, according to Metropolitan DC Police. Four protesters are dead, with one – former Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt – reportedly succumbing to a gunshot wound to the head. Six people including one law enforcement officer have been sent to hospital with injuries of varying severity.
Social media users responded to the FBI’s tweets with a mix of partisan bickering and genuine tips, with some urging the agency to arrest Trump allies including Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Rudy Giuliani, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, or even President Trump himself. Others sarcastically asked if the FBI has ever heard of browsing social media, or encouraged the agency to “check Twitter because many videos are published with names and hometowns.” Trump supporters blamed the Democrats for the alleged election fraud which prompted the unrest. One user also suggested the FBI question “the @CapitolPolice who were posing for selfies” with rioters amid reports that some officers appeared to express sympathy to the protesters.
This man is staying at the Willard Hotel. An agent could walk two blocks and arrest him right now: https://t.co/JAcftkou4S— RevDJEsq (@RevDJEsq) January 7, 2021