Capitol Police Consider Re-Erecting Fence Ahead of Sept. 18 Rally
By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 02 September 2021 09:42 AM
U.S. Capitol Police have discussed rebuilding a fence around the building in preparation for a rally supporting people charged in connection with the Jan. 6 violence, the Associated Press reported Thursday.
An ex-campaign staffer for former President Donald Trump is organizing a rally for Sept. 18, CNN reported last week. A memo sent to members of the Capitol Police said that around 300 people have told event organizers they might attend.
Fencing around the Capitol after Jan. 6 caused issues for lawmakers, many of whom said they disliked the closing off of access but acknowledged the increased level of security provided.
A House aide told the AP that the decision on whether to re-erect the fence likely will be considered by the Capitol Police Board. No decisions have been made.
The board consists of the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives, the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate, and the Architect of the Capitol.
The planned rally comes following a series of one-off incidents that included a man parking a pickup truck near the Library of Congress and saying he had a bomb and detonator, and a series of unexploded pipe bombs placed around the Capitol before Jan. 6.
Intelligence failures resulted in law enforcement being left badly prepared for the Jan. 6 events. More than 100 police officers were injured amid more than $1 million of damage.
Although members of groups such as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys comprise a small number of the nearly 600 people charged so far in connection with the Jan. 6 violence, they face some of the most serious charges.
Several Oath Keepers have pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and are cooperating with investigators in the case against other individuals, who authorities say came to Washington ready to do whatever it took to stop the certification of the Electoral College vote.
Yogananda Pittman, the Capitol Police official who led intelligence operations for the agency on Jan. 6, has been put back in charge of intelligence, AP reported.
In a statement to the AP, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said the department was "closely monitoring September 18 and we are planning accordingly."
"After January 6, we made Department-wide changes to the way we gather and share intelligence internally and externally," Manger told the wire service. "I am confident the work we are doing now will make sure our officers have what they need to keep everyone safe."
AP reported the Metropolitan Police Department will activate its entire force Sept. 18 and has put specialized riot officers on standby.
With the rally being held on a Saturday, the House will be in recess and few lawmakers or staff are expected to be around, CNN said.