Muriel Bowser, the Democrat mayor of Washington, DC, held a press conference Thursday to declare a state of emergency following protesters’ violent attack on the Capitol Wednesday.
The response will include 6,200 members of the National Guard from across the country deployed being deployed in the city by the weekend, a seven-foot “unscalable fence” around the Capitol grounds, and possible stay-at-home or business shutdown orders.
“We may have to do extraordinary things to maintain public safety,” Bowser said.
It may mean residents are “required to stay at home or close your business to maintain public safety” or face arrest, Bowser said.
“That’s something extraordinary,” she said.
The new chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, Robert J. Contee III, said his officers made 68 arrests following the protest and explained how the state of emergency affects law enforcement.
It may determine the “levels of force” the police can use if faced with new protests in the district, including pepper spray and tear gas, Contee said.
Contee also identified the four people who died on the Capitol grounds Wednesday, including 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt, a California native and Air Force veteran who lived in Maryland.
The Washington Post reported she wore a Trump flag around her waist, but Contee did not provide any political affiliation of the dead.
Contee said his department is in charge of investigating the shooting of Babbitt by a plainclothes officer in the Capitol.
Contee stated that the other three died of “medical emergencies” — a 50-year-old man from Pennsylvania, a 55-year-old man from Alabama, and a 34-year-old woman from Georgia.
Bowser called President Donald Trump “unhinged” and blamed him for the violence.
“What happened yesterday is what [Trump] wanted to happen,” Bowser said.
The mayor called for the formation of a “nonpartisan commission” to “understand the catastrophic security failure” at the Capitol.
Bowser also used the press conference to say she will press for statehood for the District, which she said she hopes happens in the first 100 days of the Joe Biden administration. This would, she said, make her the leader of the new state:
We must get DC statehood on the President's desk within the first 100 days of the 117th Congress. pic.twitter.com/APrxMFGLKA
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) January 7, 2021
When reporters asked how long the city’s lockdown would last — which is in addition to the severe restrictions in place already because of the coronavirus — Bowser said the violence might not end when Biden is inaugurated on January 20.
The mayor said people may continue to “try to overthrow institutions of government” and added that violence against the government may be “the new normal.”
Contee announced that the FBI is seeking tips on the individuals who took part in the violent protest and that the Metropolitan Police website has posted numerous photos of people inside the Capitol and asked the public to help identify them.
The official proclamation of a state of emergency posted on the D.C. government website on Wednesday also blames Trump for the protest:
President Trump continues to fan rage and violence by contending that the Presidential election was invalid. Persons are dissatisfied with judicial rulings and the findings of State Boards of Elections, and some persons can be expected to continue their violent protests through the inauguration.
Bowser joined other Democrats and even some Republicans who think Trump should be removed from office before January 20, citing “the damage he can do over these next two weeks.”
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter or send news tips to email@example.com.