September 22, 2021
The past year has brought plenty of uncertainty and fear, especially pertaining to the safety of the United States capitol in Washington D.C. Much of this fear has come from the spike in both threats and attacks that the capitol has witnessed thus far. There have been attacks such as the January Insurrection and the Good Friday attack as well as an array of bomb threats both confirmed and fake.
With investigations still ongoing in the January Insurrection, arrests have continued to take place. The latest of the arrests was of Donald Craighead of Oceanside, California the week of September 13. The arrest was made when the individual was found driving around the capitol in a pickup truck with no license plate in the late evening and early morning. Instead of a license plate, the truck had an American flag. The exterior of the truck included painted swastikas and other hate symbols. The interior of the vehicle included more swastikas and other white supremacist symbols along with Nordic runes that are often utilized. What especially caught capitol police attention were the illegal weapons consisting of a machete and bayonet.
The suspect continued to spout white supremacist ideologies and rhetoric as capitol police took him into custody. Forty-four-year-old Craighead told officers that he was “on patrol.” It is unclear, however, if the man had ties to any of the recent attacks on the Capitol or if he was connected to the planned rally, specifically the “Justice for J6” rally scheduled for Saturday September 18.
Following the recent attacks and the known upcoming rallies the Capitol has been on high alert. The areas most targeted have been the Democratic National Committee Headquarters and the Republican National Committee Headquarters. Both buildings near the Capitol have been targeted during the January Insurrection with pipe bombs.
Regarding the “Justice for J6 Rally,” an event planned to protest the arrests made in the Capitol riots case, the Metropolitan D.C. police department said that they planned to monitor the event and area closely. The fences around the capitol buildings were erected once again before coming back down after the rallies. It is unclear if there are plans on putting the fences back up in order to deter further events.
Around 700 people were in attendance, with a considerable sized counter protest group also present. For the duration of the event, only one altercation was broken up by police between the “Justice for J6” rally goers and counter protestors.
At the rally, it is reported that four individuals were taken into police custody, including an armed federal law enforcement officer who will not be facing charges for undisclosed reasons. Throughout the day a total of two weapons were seized by officers on the scene. Overall, it is estimated that the press outnumbered those actually participating in the rally, despite the attention it garnered from Republican officials such as Donald Trump Jr. His father, Donald Trump, has also spoken about the rally, but has referred to the event organized by an ex-staffer as a “setup” and as something “bad for Republicans.” Police presence was also high in preparation for the rally with armed officers lining the building fences while others remained on patrol of the area.
With the inclusion of the “Justice for J6” rally the United States Justice Department has come up on 600 arrests in the massive criminal investigation. Thus far they have had 50 individuals with ties to the January Capitol Riots plead guilty before a jury, with more expected in the upcoming months.