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Capitol police officer who wore MAGA hat at riot says it was a ruse to rescue his colleagues

The officer has been suspended and is under investigation by the Capitol Police

Graig Graziosi
Friday 15 January 2021 22:29 GMT
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Capitol Police officer Lt. Tarik Khalid Johnson wearing a red MAGA hat trying to recruit Trump supporters to help him gain control of the crowd during the Capitol insurrection on 6 January 2021.
Capitol Police officer Lt. Tarik Khalid Johnson wearing a red MAGA hat trying to recruit Trump supporters to help him gain control of the crowd during the Capitol insurrection on 6 January 2021. (Screengrab via Rico La Starza video)

A Capitol Police officer who was suspended after images from the US Capitol insurrection showed him wearing a red Donald Trump hat said he was using the hat as a way to rescue his colleagues.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the officer, Lt Tarik Khalid Johnson, wore the red MAGA hat popular among Trump supporters during the insurrection.

He told the Wall Street Journal that he wore the hat as a way to win the trust of protesters in an effort to reach his besieged colleagues inside the US Capitol.

The officer claimed his ruse allowed him to enter the building and shut a door, preventing further protesters from entering the building.

In a video of Mr Johnson at the riot, he can be seen calling for help and enlisting two men to to aid him on the east steps of the Capitol.

Later in the video, Mr Johnson is seen exiting the Capitol with other officers in riot gear.

A Capitol Police spokesman told The Wall Street Journal that it was examining video and other evidence regarding the actions taken by Mr Johnson and other officers during the insurrection.

Some officers were criticised for opening gates and taking selfies with protesters.

Five people died during the riot, including four Trump supporters and one Capitol police officer who was attacked with a fire extinguisher.

One of the Trump supporters was shot and killed while trying to breach the interior chambers of the Capitol.

Rep. Tim Ryan said investigations into the actions of the officers on the day of the insurrection were underway.

Some of those investigations are examining whether Capitol Police and some Republican lawmakers actively assisted the protesters during the insurrection.

More than 100 people have been arrested for participating in the riot.

Following the riot, the House moved to impeach Mr Trump for a second time. Senate Majority Leader MItch McConnell said he would not convene the Senate to hold the trial for Mr Trump until after Joe Biden's inauguration.

If Mr Trump is convicted, it may barr him from running for president again in 2024.

More than 20,000 National Guard troops will be deployed to Washington DC ahead of Mr Biden's inauguration to prevent a second attack from Trump supporters angry at the results of the 2020 elections.

Mr Trump has not conceded and has continued to repeat lies alleging massive voter fraud cost him the election. He has called for his supporters not to commit violence and said he would commit to a peaceful transition of power. 

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