WASHINGTON (7News) — Three years ago, on January 6, 2021, a day now indelibly marked in American history, the United States Capitol faced an unprecedented riot that threatened Congress and interrupted the certification of the 2020 Presidential Election.
The violence at the Capitol began with Capitol Police trying to hold back an advancing crowd, a harrowing moment captured by numerous videos.
Social media posts from that day show rioters, some carrying bats and wearing body armor, forcefully making their way toward the Capitol. This scene set the tone for what was to unfold.
As the rioters broke through barricades, police bodycam footage captured their veracity and violence. Over 400 individuals have since been charged with assaulting police officers. 120 were armed with weapons.
During the chaos, Capitol Police worked to evacuate Congress and secure the House Chamber. Officers barricaded key areas and drew their guns in a desperate attempt to protect lawmakers.
In the three years since the riot, more than 1,200 defendants from every state and the District of Columbia have been arrested and charged. U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves is leading these prosecutions.
“Much work has been done to hold members of the mob accountable for the crimes they committed,” Graves said.
He also underscored the significance of not allowing individual cases to distract from the bigger picture. The Capitol insurrection is the first time in American history that a peaceful transition of power was disrupted.
“It is critical that we remember the collective harm that was done and January 6th, 2021, and understand how it happened so we can ensure that it never happens again,” Graves said.
The scope of the investigations and arrests is unparalleled in modern American history. Even with over a thousand arrests and 900 convictions, the FBI is still working to identify dozens of suspects seen in hundreds of videos from the Capitol, with seven individuals currently on the FBI's Most Wanted list. Notable among the suspects are Evan Neumann and Paul Belosic, with ties to California, and others connected to the Carolinas, Texas, and Central Florida.
Of the 1,235 people charged in connection with the Capitol attack, more than half have been sentenced. These include members of far-right extremist groups, former police officers, an Olympic gold medalist, and active-duty Marines. Notably, Jacob Chansely, once dubbed the “QAnon Shaman,” has served 27 months in prison and is now living in a Phoenix halfway house, with aspirations of running for Congress.
The heaviest sentences have been given to Henry Tarrio and Stewart Rhodes, former leaders of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, respectively, both convicted of seditious conspiracy.