Officials expect the “Justice for J6” protest to attract far-right & extremist groups such as the Proud Boys & Oath Keepers, an anti-government militia.
The Metropolitan Police Department issued an alert last month urging the entire force to postpone any upcoming vacations ahead of a September 18 protest. The demonstration, dubbed “Justice for J6,” was organized in support of rioters who violently stormed the US Capitol building on January 6 to contest the results of the 2016 election.
US Capitol Police forces are “closely monitoring September 18 and we are planning accordingly,” Chief Tom Manger told the Associated Press in a Wednesday statement.
“After January 6, we made Department-wide changes to the way we gather and share intelligence internally and externally,” Manger said. “I am confident the work we are doing now will make sure our officers have what they need to keep everyone safe.”
In addition to the entire MPD force being active, specialized riot officers have also been tapped to remain on standby.
Federal officials expect the “Justice for J6” protest to attract far-right and extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, an anti-government militia. The demonstration is presently set to occur at the Union Square area of the US Capitol grounds.
Law enforcement sources told the Associated Press that DC-based authorities have undertaken a number of steps to optimize their response to possible violence and mobilize the appropriate forces.
The alleged changes come after more than 140 officers were injured in some way during the deadly January 6 storming of the US Capitol, according to an estimate from Gus Papathanasiou, chairman of the US Capitol Police Labor Committee.
A total of five individuals died as a result of the riot, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who was placed on life support after suffering from two thromboembolic strokes brought on by a pepper spray assault.
Additionally, at least four officers who responded to the January 6 riot have since committed suicide.
It is likely that federal officers will be on high alert for explosives, as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has yet to find the individual who planted several pipe bombs around Washington, DC, prior to the Jan. 6 riot.
The #FBI has released a video of the person who placed pipe bombs placed near Capitol Hill between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on January 5. If you recognize this person’s gait, body language, or mannerisms, submit a tip at https://t.co/iL7sD5efWD. Tips can remain anonymous. @FBIWFO pic.twitter.com/tCqM6ipVZz
— FBI (@FBI) March 9, 2021
More recently, Capitol Police officers were mobilized to respond to reports of a bomb threat near the Library of Congress on Capitol Hill. The suspect, who was ultimately taken into custody without incident, threatened to detonate an explosive device while calling on US President Joe Biden to resign from office.
Authorities have yet to determine whether they will once again erect a fence around the US Capitol to boost perimeter security.