Security officials at the Capitol plan to reinstall a fence around the complex ahead of planned rally of Trump supporters next weekend called to demand the release of those arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 mob attack on Congress.
The Capitol Police Board is slated to approve a request from Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, who joined the force in the aftermath of the deadly attack, to restore the fence before the “Justice for J6” rally scheduled for Sept. 18, because of concerns that hundreds might attend, including some extremist groups, according to a person familiar with the board’s discussions.
The barrier, erected after a mob of President Donald J. Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, had been removed in July, reopening public accessibility to the complex.
“We intend to have the integrity of the Capitol be in tact,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Wednesday. “What happened on Jan. 6 was such an assault on this beautiful Capitol, under the dome that Lincoln built during the Civil War.”
The “Justice for J6” rally is being organized by Matt Braynard, a former Trump campaign operative, and his organization, Look Ahead America, which has demanded that the Justice Department drop charges against what the group calls “nonviolent protesters” facing charges stemming from the Jan. 6 riot.
About 140 police officers were injured, including 15 who were hospitalized, and several people died in connection with the riot, including officers who took their own lives in the months after responding to the assault.
Some officers suffered brain injuries; one officer had two cracked ribs, two shattered spinal discs; and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake, according to the union that represents the Capitol Police.
Mr. Braynard has argued the brutal attacks on police officers during the assault were the work of a “few bad apples” and accused the Biden administration of targeting the “peaceful Trump supporters who entered the Capitol with selective prosecutions based on their political beliefs.”
Some Republicans who have sought to downplay the seriousness of the riot or spread conspiracy theories about who was responsible have expressed sympathy for suspects arrested afterward, vowing to fight for their release.
“We are closely monitoring Sept. 18 and we are planning accordingly,” Chief Manger said in a statement last week. “After Jan. 6, we made departmentwide changes to the way we gather and share intelligence internally and externally. I am confident the work we are doing now will make sure our officers have what they need to keep everyone safe.”