FBI: Capitol rioters claim officer told them, ‘It’s your house now’
Two men arrested in connection with the Capitol riot last week claim that an officer shook their hands after they entered the building and told them, “It’s your house now,” according to the FBI.
Robert Bauer and his cousin Edward Hemenway admitted to agents that they were among the scores of people who entered the building on Jan. 6, according to a complaint filed Thursday.
Bauer, who is from Kentucky, told agents that he traveled with his wife to Washington, D.C., for the pro-Trump rally that day and that they stayed with Hemenway in Virginia for part of the trip.
All three reportedly attended the rally on Jan. 6 and joined the crowd in marching toward the Capitol after President Trump told supporters they would go to the building, the complaint states.
Bauer and Hemenway each told investigators that after the men entered the Capitol, an officer shook their hands and said, “It’s your house now,” according to the complaint.
Bauer said he believed the officer “was acting out of fear,” the document states. The complaint does not identify the reported officer.
A Capitol Police spokeswoman told The Hill that the department “is actively reviewing video and other open source materials of some USCP officers and officials that appear to be in violation of Department regulations and policies.”
“Our Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating these behaviors for disciplinary action, up to, and including, termination. Several USCP officers have already been suspended pending the outcome of their investigations,” Capitol Police communications director Eva Malecki added.
Bauer and Hemenway appeared in federal court on Friday, and both pleaded not guilty to trespassing and knowingly entering a restricted building or grounds, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
While Hemenway and Bauer went to the Capitol with Bauer’s wife, there is no evidence she entered the building, and she has not been arrested.
Bauer told officials in the complaint he entered the Capitol building to “occupy the space” and claimed he had no intentions of harming anyone. Hemenway said he entered out of “stupidity” and “curiosity” and that he didn’t know Congress was in session at the time, though he said he did know lawmakers were certifying the Electoral College vote.
Capitol Police have faced scrutiny in the aftermath of the riot, with lawmakers questioning why officers were quickly overwhelmed by the mob of rioters, forcing the building to shut down. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund resigned last week amid criticism of his handling of the riot.
One officer has drawn scrutiny after he was pictured in a “Make America Great Again” hat during the riot. However, the officer has claimed that he wore the hat as a ruse to help make it past crowds and get colleagues to safety, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Dozens of individuals from across the country have been arrested in connection to the riot, with footage showing some discussing wanting to hurt Vice President Pence, who refused to go along with Trump’s plan to stop the certification of electoral votes.