A video of the January 6 US Capitol riot shows a wounded protester guarding against others "disrespecting" the Senate chamber as police politely ask them to leave.
The video is now going viral on social media, with some users holding it up as a counter to the official narrative of an "attempted coup" — which has seen criminal charges laid against some 100 participants and the House of Representatives vote to impeach President Donald Trump just days before he is set to leave office.
Self-styled “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley — AKA Jake Angeli, dubbed "JamiroQAnon" on social media — is seen entering the quiet Senate chamber accompanied by a police officer and greeting a handful of other protesters.
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) January 17, 2021
One man is seen bleeding after being hit in the face with “some kind of plastic bullet”, but turns down the Capitol policeman’s offer to call for medical assistance.
When the officer asks "any chance I could get you guys to leave the Senate wing?", the injured man assures him they will and that "I been makin' sure they ain't disrespectin' the place".
But as he speaks, Chansley mounts the podium and appears to sit in the speaker's chair. Another video shows the buffalo-hatted Chansley bellowing from the gallery as protesters leaf through senators' abandoned papers.
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) January 17, 2021
Twitter users reacted sardonically.
— Z (@pearsonbound) January 18, 2021
— Larry Johnson (@2LarryJohnson7) January 18, 2021
— General⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🇺🇸🦅 (@TheGeneral_0) January 18, 2021
— Numberonepal (@numberonepal) January 18, 2021
The footage from the Senate is in stark contrast to videos of the moment protester Ashli Babbitt, a 14-year US Air Force veteran, was fatally shot in the neck by a masked, plain-clothes officer as she tried to climb through a broken window in a bid to enter the House of Representatives chamber in the opposite wing of the building. Moments after the shooting, SWAT-style officers with assault rifles charged up the stairs behind the protesters.
— Czechoslovak (@DOPICEUZNEVIEM1) January 7, 2021
Longer recordings of the incident show uniformed police guarding the barricaded door to the House stepped aside moments before Babbitt was shot.
— Billy Baldwin (@BillyBaldwin) January 11, 2021
Chansley was formally charged last week with violent entry and disorderly conduct for his part in the protest at the Capitol.
The DC federal attorney's office claimed in a statement that his flag pole was "a spear, approximately 6 feet in length, with an American flag tied just below the blade".
Washington DC has been placed under strict lockdown ahead of Biden's inauguration on Wednesday, with 15,000 National Guard troops deployed around the city and security barriers around the Capitol building.