The "Justice for J6" rally in Washington concluded without major incident Saturday after the Capitol Police ramped up security in anticipation of the right-wing event. However, authorities appeared to detain an undercover officer.
Capitol Police surrounded a masked man reportedly carrying a firearm. "He tells them where the gun is, and they pull out his badge. He's undercover law enforcement. Without disarming or handcuffing him, police extract him from the event," reported News2Share editor-in-chief and documentarian Ford Fischer.
"Are you undercover?" the Capitol Police officers asked the masked man about to be detained who handed over what appeared to be a law enforcement badge. "I guess not anymore," Fischer quipped. The masked man then claimed, "I'm just here," when asked if he's undercover. He was pulled away from the chaotic scene after the badge was presented to justify the gun's appearance.
"Other than undercover, he could have hypothetically been simply masked & off duty with his badge and gun concealed," Fischer speculated.
A minor incident occurred when officers arrested a man armed with a knife for a weapons violation, Capitol Police reported on social media in the early afternoon.
Capitol Police also stopped a vehicle along Louisiana Ave. in the morning and arrested two suspects for felony extraditable warrants out of Texas; one was for possession of a fire arm and the other was for a probation violation.
Law enforcement officials had reconstructed the protective fencing around the Capitol in preparation for the rally held in support of the Jan. 6 "political prisoners" who were arrested over the federal breach.
Security cameras provided to the Capitol Police by the Department of Defense were installed near the site of the rally, Mike Valerio of WUSA9 reported.
Several congressional offices were also closed with both the House and Senate out. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also approved a request from Capitol Police to have 100 National Guard troops ready to assist law enforcement if the rally turned violent. The peaceful and uneventful rally itself drew only an estimated 400 to 450 people despite the heavy police presence, according to Capitol Police.
Law enforcement numbers were excluded from the Capitol Police's reported figure, but the amount of reporters at the Capitol were not specified.
The Post Millennial reporter Hannah Nightingale was present Saturday and captured on-the-ground footage live at the Justice for J6 rally.
Justice for J6 rally organizer Matt Braynard, an ex-campaign employee for former President Donald Trump, told rally attendees to respect law enforcement officers and members of the media who are are covering the Look Ahead America event.
"[There are] uniformed officers here that I demand you respect, you are kind to, you are respectful you, and you are obedient to. They are here to keep us safe. We are counting on them to do that. We know that they will," Braynard declared.
Braynard made the same request for the press. However, he recommended that if demonstrators were not used to interviews to decline the media opportunity.
"We've gotten a lot of misrepresentation," Braynard explained. "They're trying to say that this is a rally in support of the violent people who attacked and killed police officers on Jan. 6. That is absolutely not what this is about. That has been misrepresented continuously." The speech was followed by applause.
Look Ahead America had dispensed attendee guidance ahead of the noon rally, stressing that rallygoers be respectful to the security team and law enforcement.
Participants were instructed not to wear or carry political, candidate, or another organization's paraphernalia, including clothing or banners supportive of former President Donald Trump or current President Joe Biden.
However, red, white, and blue apparel and similar American flag signage were encouraged to display support for the Jan. 6 arrestees.
"Still seems like more press than protesters. Less than one demonstrator per member of Congress as the scheduled event begins," reported NBC News journalist Jonathan Allen. "Yes how weird," political pundit Stephen L. Miller commented.
Katie Mettler of The Washington Post also reported that police and reporters far outnumbered the Justice for J6 attendees. "Layers & layers of fencing, armed officers in riot gear, cement walls and dump trucks stand between the people on the lawn and the Capitol," she tweeted from on Capitol grounds.
Los Angeles Times writer Del Quentin Wilbe added that a helicopter and police dogs were in the area: "The cost per protester would be interesting to work out."
Braynard contrasted the treatment of the Jan. 6 "political prisoners" with the treatment of the environmental protestors who were "arrested and released that day" and faced "no long-term consequences, no lost jobs..."
"What little media that did cover them reported them mostly as heroes," Braynard said. "We cannot have a two-tiered justice system in this country based on what you believe in. I don't care what your political strife is. It's intolerable."
Braynard told the rally attendants to channel anger about the election into community outreach: "When we show up at school board meetings and use our First Amendment rights, when we educate our state legislators, when we come to Washington and demand justice peacefully, orderly, this is what terrifies them."
"This is why they didn't want you to come. But we're not going to be stopped. Peaceful community organizing belongs to us!" Braynard shouted, instructing the crowd to redirect frustration about the 2020 presidential election outcome.
He said that the actions witnessed on Jan. 6 were "stupid" and "wrong."
"Anger is dangerous. Anger gets turned inward. It's self-destructive. And then it spills out and becomes destructive in the world," Braynard quipped.
Braynard asked the right-wing followers to turn towards productive means such as volunteering for Look Ahead America or Citizens Against Political Persecution.
"Work within the law. Work peacefully. Do not give up on our Constitution. Do not give up on our country. Do not give up on voting. Do not give up on petition our governments," Braynard advised to the assembly of conservatives.
A man holding a pro-police sign condemned the rioters who attacked the Capitol building on Jan. 6. "Some of these officers were sprayed with mace. They were in the position that day of defending America!" the man told the surrounding crowd.
He went on to note that several Capitol Police officers were injured in the line of duty while "protecting our rights to live in a democratic society."
"Why is it that the guardians of democracy no longer have their support?" the man asked, pointing off-camera to the Justice for J6 protesters in the distance. "They have no interest in the rule of law. If you were interested in the rule of law that day, you would have stopped short of the Capitol grounds," he stated.
The man said, "When you're fighting police officers and you're throwing objects at them and you're spraying them with bear mace, you're breaking the law. And you don't need to be a PhD to know it. So when these folks over here say that the folks that are currently in jail are 'political prisoners,' they're full of bull sh*t."
"They're liars," he yelled. The man continued to state that the Jan. 6 rioters "made the decision to cross the barricade to attack [the Capitol Police officers], to break the windows and force their way in and chase police officers down the hall and then stand at the door at the House of Representatives or the Senate chambers..."
At one point, police had searched one of the Justice for J6 rally attendees.
Police escorted a rallygoer waving the Gadsden flag away from Black Lives Matter counter protestors to de-escalate tensions. "Get the f— out of here, you f—ing Nazis!" the opposing left-wing side shouted at the conservative activists.
Officers in riot gear separated the right-wing crowd from the BLM protestors.
CNN political commentator Ashley Allison, a former official who worked for the Biden campaign, on Thursday compared the Justice for J6 demonstrators to the Taliban. Allison criticized the protesters planning to come to the Capitol "to make the point a second time," she claimed, maintaining that the demonstrators are akin to the "Charlottesville neo-Nazis" who "came back to Unite the Right."
"But the thing that is so disgusting to me, is the same Republicans who will not condemn Saturday's attendees or the rally, are the same ones blasting the Biden administration about Afghanistan. And when I look at the people who come on Saturday, I draw very close parallels to the Taliban," she stated on-air. "They are people who don't have respect for democracy, they are people who don’t have respect for diverging ideas, and that is what people on Jan. 6 stood for … and if you're a Republican or Democrat and won't condemn, shame on you," Allison said.