“I can tell you definitively —we have officers, they’ve been to war, they’ve been on the battlefield —and what they encountered that night at the Capitol shook them to their core, right into their absolute core,” Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) First District Commander Morgan Kane told the monthly meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B, held Tuesday, Jan. 12.
Kane was among the MPD officers called to the Capitol Wednesday, Jan. 6 by US Capitol Police after a mob of Trump supporters attacked and entered the building. 58 MPD officers were injured in the insurrection.
“This was an extremely aggressive and violent operation that involved open hand combat,” Kane said. “There were bats, there were metal pipes, there were Tasers and multiple munitions on both sides.”
One MPD officer was attempting to guard the door when he was pulled into the mob, thrown to the ground and beaten, Kane said. “When I say ‘beaten,’ I mean he was stomped, he was punched, he was hit with poles, he was tased, he lost consciousness and he was able to make it back and was able to rejoin his unit,” Kane said. “They were saying, ‘Get his gun, kill him with his own gun,’,” Kane said.
Responding to questions about the low numbers of arrests on scene, Kane said that MPD was not the lead agency in securing the Capitol but operated under the federal United States Capitol Police. Once Capitol Police called for assistance, MPD Inspector Robert Glover, head of the Special Operations Division (SOD), directed efforts to retake the Capitol.
“So, when we were called in the objective was to bring in enough resources to take control of the Capitol complex and so that became our focus,” Kane said. Sixty-eight people were arrested the day and night of the insurrection. At a Tuesday press conference, FBI Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono said that more than 170 case files had been opened.
Referencing video of the attack, Kane said, “those officers were truly in a fight for their lives, so our initial objective was not to affect arrest but to actually take back control of the Capitol complex,” Kane said. Kane said that the initial charges placed against those arrested will be elevated as the investigation progresses.
While the First District assisted in sweeping the Capitol, Kane said that officers were still patrolling the neighborhood. After the grounds were cleared, situational updates on the status of neighborhoods were provided every fifteen minutes to ensure that rioters cleared the street, assisted by the curfew imposed by Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and the fact that indoor dining was not permitted. She said there was no spillover into residential areas after the grounds were cleared.
She said that MPD is operating at full deployment until Jan. 30, meaning that members are assigned to 12 hour shifts.
“I can’t say it enough: we’re in very dangerous times right now,” Kane said. “But rest assured MPD will be out there doing our damnedest and working our hardest to make sure that what we saw last week will not happen again.”
Commissioner Denise Krepp (6B10) noted that she had sent a community impact statement to the Department of Justice (DOJ) asking for significant prison sentences for those who participated in the insurrection. Krepp told Kane she would write a second letter highlighting the injuries of police and making the same request.
Several community members appeared to express their concern in regard to the increase in policing throughout the Hill in response to the invasion, specifically referencing Krepp. “I’m concerned that the calls to have you protect those who have come to enjoy our community supersedes the real danger that black people face,” said Maurice Cook, referencing a letter signed by ANC commissioners throughout the District written by ANC 7C06 Commissioner Victoria Clark expressing concerns about law enforcement response to the white insurrectionists as well as the relationship between white supremacy and police.
Other residents asked the ANC to use their offices to keep the city safe in ways that do not jeopardize black and brown residents or those who are unhoused. They referenced another letter signed by ANC commissioners that urges the Mayor to take steps to prevent another invasion and to protect District residents and Black neighborhoods at risk.
Motion to Defund Lawyer for Handle19 Protest Defeated
The Commission voted 6 to 5 to defeat a motion put forward by Commissioner Corey Holman (6B06) to rescind the allocation of $14,000 for legal fees to support the ANC protest of an application for a liquor license for Handle19, the bar, restaurant and sports book slated for 319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.
The motion would have re-allocated the funds towards restarting the ANC grant program that funds community relief efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It would not have withdrawn the ANC protest.
Holman said the amount was insufficient to achieve the desired result, and too much to spend on an effort that he believed would ultimately be no more successful than the usual process to achieve a Settlement Agreement (SA). The funds were allocated during a Special Call meeting of the ANC, which Holman was unable to attend. The amount is half of the ANC’s annual allocation, said Holman, who serves as ANC 6B Treasurer.
Speaking in support of the motion, newly-sworn in Commissioner Alison Horn (6B09) said that she felt that that proportion of funds would be better used in a matter that affected a larger proportion of the entire ANC. Others opposed the motion, saying that the case affects the wider community and the District as it will set a precedent for sports betting in residential neighborhoods.
Commissioners opposing the motion to defund legal support also argued that it was critical to the success of the protest. “Stripping the funds to take on a protest is like going to a gun fight with blanks,” said former Alcohol Beverage Committee (ABC) Chair Chander Jayaraman. “You realize you’re going against one of these giant corporations that is well-funded and has attorneys, and it is essentially: you’re throwing in the towel.”
Two different groups of residents have declared themselves parties in opposition to the application. At the December ANC meeting, one representative cited statistics showing that a sportsbook would increase neighborhood crime. Commissioners in accord with them argued that sports betting does not belong in a residential neighborhood and will increase both vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the area.
The protest hearing has not yet been scheduled before the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).
Election of Officers
Executive Director of the Office of ANCs (OANC) Gottlieb Simon appeared to preside over the election of the ANC 6B Executive. Candidates were unanimously elected as a slate, as follows. (i) indicates an incumbent officer in the position:
- Chair: Brian Ready (i)
- Vice Chair: Steve Holtzman
- Secretary: Gerald Sroufe (i)
- Treasurer: Corey Holman (i)
- Parliamentarian: Kirsten Oldenburg
In Other Business
The Commission voted unanimously to support a concept for a Historic Preservation Application (HPA) to infill a dogleg and build a partial third-story rooftop addition at 921 G St. SE, asking that the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) consider the rear elevation, which might be too bold considering the visibility from both the alley and from Tenth Street SE. The commission had previously asked for additional renderings to ensure the addition would be minimally visible from public space and compatible with the surrounding streetscape.
Due to COVID-19 safety concerns, ANC 6B held the December meeting of the full commission on Tuesday, Dec. 8th virtually via Webex with a quorum of nine commissioners. Appearing were Commissioners Jennifer Samolyk (6B01), Gerald Sroufe (6B02), Brian Ready (6B03), Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04), Steve Holtzman (6B05), Corey Holman (6B06), Edward Ryder (6B07), Peter Wright (6B08), Alison Horn (6B09) and Denise Krepp (6B10).
The next meeting of ANC 6B is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. For the most up-to-date information on meetings and how to join a virtual meeting via Webex, visit anc6b.org.