FBI requests help from public to identify U.S. Capitol rioters

Key Points
  • The FBI tweeted that "we are accepting tips and digital media depicting rioting or violence."
  • The mayhem at the U.S. Capitol resulted in the deaths of four people and led to 52 arrests.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents arrive at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Jan. 6, 2021.
Graeme Sloan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The FBI is requesting the public help identify people who took part in the pro-Trump riots at the U.S. Capitol.

"We are accepting tips and digital media depicting rioting or violence in and around the U.S. Capitol on January 6," an FBI tweet said.

"If you have witnessed unlawful violent actions, we urge you to submit any information, photos, or videos that could be relevant at fbi.gov/USCapitol," the agency said in a subsequent statement.

The mayhem at the U.S. Capitol resulted in the deaths of four people and led to 52 arrests. More than 50 U.S. Capitol Police and D.C. police officers sustained injuries during the attack on the Capitol, wrote Steven Sund, the Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, in a statement Thursday.

A supporter of President Donald Trump carries a Conferderate battle flag on the second floor of the U.S. Capitol near the entrance to the Senate after breaching security defenses, in Washington, January 6, 2021.
Mike Theiler | Reuters

The riots that broke out in Washington forced Congress to recess from the joint session that was scheduled to formally announce President-elect Joe Biden's victory in November's election.

After the Capitol had been secured, Biden's victory over President Donald Trump was confirmed by Congress in the early hours of Thursday.

Trump, during a Wednesday rally outside the White House, encouraged thousands of supporters to march to the Capitol to protest what historically have been ceremonial proceedings.

Trump returned to the White House after his speech. During the subsequent rioting, Trump told supporters in a tweeted video "you have to go home now," but he didn't condemn the violence and continued to falsely claim he won the election. 

Twitter later removed that tweet and locked the president's account.

In a statement Thursday, Department of Homeland Security's acting secretary, Chad Wolf, called on Trump to "strongly condemn the violence," calling the events "tragic and sickening."

Protesters enter the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump.
Win McNamee | Getty Images

"This is unacceptable. These violent actions are unconscionable, and I implore the President and all elected officials to strongly condemn the violence that took place yesterday," Wolf said.

"Any appearance of inciting violence by an elected official goes against who we are as Americans. Every American is guaranteed the right to peacefully protest, but once those protests become violent, we should enforce our laws and bring those responsible to justice—regardless of political motivations."

In a tweet Wednesday, Wolf wrote that those who engaged in the rioting should be held accountable.

Other members of Trump's Cabinet also issued harsh rebukes of the violence but stopped short of criticizing the president.

In a series of tweets Wednesday evening, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the storming of the U.S. Capitol "unacceptable."

"Lawlessness and rioting — here or around the world — is always unacceptable," the nation's top diplomat wrote. "Let us swiftly bring justice to the criminals who engaged in this rioting."

Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said: "The violence to our Nation's Capitol Building is an intolerable attack on a fundamental institution of our democracy."

Earlier Wednesday, the Department of Justice sent hundreds of federal law enforcement officers and agents from the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service to help quell protests.

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