Three undercover Metropolitan Police Department officers joined the march of protesters up the northwest side of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021—including one who climbed over a barricade and pushed others toward the Capitol, and another who walked behind Ashli Babbitt and predicted that “someone will get shot,” according to newly disclosed court documents.
New court motions filed by Jan. 6 defendant William Pope of Topeka, Kansas, also show MPD bicycle officers stopping four armed men in plainclothes on Jan. 6. The men turned out to be federal agents. Video included with Pope’s filings also shows uniformed MPD officers saying, “we were set up” to fail on Jan. 6.
Information in the court papers will rekindle the debate about the role that undercover officers and agents played in the riots of Jan. 6 and why the U.S. Department of Justice and federal judges have kept the evidence under seal and away from public view.
“This video clearly evidences undercover law enforcement officers urging the crowds to advance up the stairs and scaffolding towards the Capitol on January 6,” Pope wrote in one motion. “The government may claim that incidents like this did not happen, but the facts show they did.
“Since the government cannot be trusted to disclose these facts,” Pope wrote, “it becomes even more important that defense teams, including Pro Se defendants, be able to directly examine the evidence.”
The three undercover MPD officers approached the northwest corner of the Capitol grounds at about 1:40 p.m. on Jan. 6, one of the motions states. Officer 1, who was filming their journey, joined the crowd chanting, “Drain the swamp!”
When a group of men ran past them toward the Capitol, Officer 2—wearing a Trump beanie—remarked, “Those guys are getting shot,” the motion said.
At the base of the scaffold stairs, Officer 1 joined the crowd in a chant, “Whose house? Our house!”
“Officer 1 began yelling at people in front of him to ‘Go, go, go!’ As they climbed bicycle racks, Officer 1 yelled for the crowd to ‘help him up, help him up!” followed by ‘push him up, push him up!’” the motion reads of Pope describing how Officer 1 climbed over a barricade.
“Needing help to get up, Officer 1 asked a nearby man to give him a boost,” the motion says. “The man gives Officer 1 a lift up, and Officer 1 says ‘Thanks, bro.’”
Officer 1 pushed protesters in front of him to advance on the Capitol, shouting, “c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, let’s go!,” the motion said. People around him climbed over bike-rack-style barricades and scaffolding that had been set up for the presidential inauguration.
Right Behind Ashli Babbitt
At one point, Officers 2 and 3 were almost directly behind Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt on the exterior stairs, about an hour before Babbitt was gunned down at the entrance to the Speaker’s Lobby, Pope said in a Twitter post on Feb. 18.
“Why hasn’t the government informed the public that undercover MPD officers were chanting, ‘Our house!’ and repeatedly urging protesters to advance up the northwest steps of the Capitol on January 6?” Pope wrote on Twitter under his handle @FreeStateWill. “Officer 2 said someone would get shot and went up right behind Ashli Babbitt.”
Video shot by the undercover officers is under court seal.
Pope argued in his motions that the DOJ is trying to prevent him from accessing the full Jan. 6 evidence databases. He is defending himself against seven criminal counts brought by federal prosecutors in February 2021. He asked U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras to compel the DOJ to give him full access to discovery materials.
In a motion filed with the court on Feb. 17, Pope included a tranche of bodycam video with evidence not disclosed publicly before.
The bodycams of three MPD bicycle officers—Tyquan Brown, Daniel Styles, and Christopher Vanacore—shows them stopping a group of four men and a woman at 12:19 p.m., walking east during then-President Trump’s speech at the Ellipse. “Is anyone armed?” Brown asked. “We all are,” the men said, adding that they were law enforcement officials. The woman was not armed.
The four men showed the MPD officers their law-enforcement credentials and were allowed to go on their way. The IDs all appeared very similar, but the video is not of sufficient resolution to read what agency they are from. Brown chided one of the men, “You’ve got to do a little bit better at hiding it,” pointing to his concealed handgun.
The bodycam of MPD Officer Lawrence Lazewski shows Lazewski and another MPD officer express the belief that police had been “set up” on Jan. 6.
After nearly 90 minutes on the police line on the west front of the Capitol, Lazewski retreated to the Upper West Terrace at 2:33 p.m. He approached a group of other officers, one of whom was engaged in an animated discussion.
‘They Set Us Up’
“They set us the [expletive] up,” the officer said. “That’s what they did. They set us up.
“They set up [Unit] 64, absolutely, and then they ask you all to come two hours later,” the officer said. “They set us up.”
Lazewski replied, “They needed everybody right away,” to which the other officer said, “Nah, right away, they set us the [expletive] up. We ain’t got [expletive].”
A few moments later, the unidentified officer said, “Take this mother[expletive],” and waved his hand at the Capitol in disgust.
At about 2:40 p.m., half an hour after the Capitol was first breached, Lazewski who was outside the building approached another MPD officer on the side of the Capitol. On the way, he heard a group of officers discussing the police deployment of CS gas along the barricades on the west front. Many officers were not outfitted with gas masks.
“I didn’t know we were coming up for this or I would have made sure we all had our masks,” the officer told Lazewski.
“I didn’t realize how bad … they set us up to fail,” Lazewski said.
“They did,” the other officer replied.
“There was no way we were winning that,” Lazewski said. “Now you’ve got at least four platoons that are just gassed out.”
‘Keep the March Going’
Video from the bodycam of MPD Officer Terry Thorne shows him imploring protesters on the way down Constitution Avenue to the Capitol from Trump’s speech at 12:30 p.m. to “keep the march going.”
“Let’s keep it going,” Thorne said, waving protesters away from a side street. “Let’s keep the march going. Let’s keep it going. Guys, let’s keep the march going.”
Bodycam from MPD Officer Anthony Alioto gives a behind the scenes look at police action along the west front of the Capitol. His bodycam captured some of the actions of Officer Daniel Thau, who used a taser on protesters four times, tossed countless munitions into the crowd, and fired a 40 mm shell at protesters.
On Alioto’s video, Thau is shown using pepper spray on protesters that is partially blown back in officers’ faces. “Hey Danny,” Alioto said. “Watch the wind direction!”
Officer Luke Foskett’s bodycam shows some of the chaos inside the Capitol. He approached a Capitol Police supervisor and asked, “Where can we start?”
“I don’t [expletive] know,” the man replied. “You want to talk about getting caught with your pants down. We have no direction. Nobody can get on the [expletive] radio.
“I called the Command Center and let them know that you guys are here with us. At least you’re accounted for,” the Capitol officer said.
Officers in that section of the Capitol were looking for a man who might have been armed. Someone asked the Capitol Police supervisor how they could identify undercover operatives.
“They will have a wristband. Their guns will have a candy stripe on the barrel,” he said. “I don’t know the wristband color but they’ll have a wristband somewhere.”