The Capitol Riot: a Timeline


Courtesy of John Minchillo

Moving forward, we can only hope that increasing political polarization in this country does not lead to more violent insurrections and turbulent political whirlwinds.

Jynnx Betancourt

January 6th, 2021. On this historic day, a plethora of Former President Donald Trump’s supporters issued a riot at Capitol Hill in an attempt to overturn the results of the most recent national election. Violence and destruction ensued—but that is only the tip of the iceberg in this complex saga.

From the early afternoon, Trump’s supporters began to assemble at The Capitol, where the former President was going to deliver a speech. The crowds grew by the hundreds, and they showed no sign of stopping. 

As the afternoon rolled around, the crowd only grew larger, with rioters becoming even more agitated. The pack began its march to the White House, after Donald Trump instructed them to “show strength.” Around the same time, a pipe bomb and a similar device was discovered nearby the Democratic National Committee headquarters. 

Towards the end of Trump’s speech around one p.m., some members of the crowd began to taunt the nearby police guarding the barricades. Several videos taken at the scene depict rioters pushing past fences and getting physical with law enforcement. The first barricade was then broken, as the guards were forced back to the Capitol steps and the crowd further advanced.

Not long after, the next three barricades were breached. Only a few minutes later, Capitol police officers in riot gear were called to the scene in an attempt to disengage the aggressive crowd. Simultaneously, Nancy Pelosi began to certify the Electoral college vote. The crowd outside chanted, “Whose house? Our house!”

Fifteen minutes into 1:00p.m., Trump’s speech came to an end. He instructed his supporters to begin a march down Pennsylvania Avenue, in the direction to the Capitol. Once they arrived, the clash began. Officers and local reinforcement began to get violent with the opposing rioters. Both sides used misted chemicals to defend themselves. Meanwhile, Senator Ted Cruz argued that Arizona’s electoral college votes should not be certified. 

Only a minute later, the chief of the Capitol Police called for immediate assistance with the crowd. Rioters approached the interior of the Capitol, due to their persistent tearing of the scaffolding. On the east side, where there was less police presence, rioters reached the doors.

Around two p.m., the police surrendered to the crowd and decided to remove the east barricade due to the overwhelmingly violent protests from the rioters. Not long afterwards, the final east physical barricade fell, and the eastside riot advanced into the building—all while the legislators calmly continued their debate. 

Only ten minutes later, the northside mob breached their final physical barricade and successfully managed to push the police back, making it into the building. They approached the Senate chamber entrance, which was only one floor above where the Senate continued to debate. Rioters  surrounded both sides of the building. 

2:11 p.m: Rioters on the westside broke into the building. The Senate was called into recess due to rioters closing the space between themselves and the chamber. Minutes later, rioters continued to flood into the building through a broken door and window located on the northwest side. They explored the building freely, closing the space between them and the Senate chamber entrances. A single policeman attempted to lead the mob away while frantically calling for backup. Other police officers tried to keep the Senate safe by locking the entrance doors. Rioters and policemen were now at a standoff. 

After five minutes, the intrusive mob only enlarged itself. While some politicians were able to evacuate safely, the others were trapped inside with the company of the rioters. The rioters grew more violent towards the guarding police, going to great lengths to show their dedication to our former president Donald Trump. It would not be another three hours until the building would finally be announced safe and secured.

The riots that took place at the Capitol on January 6th were unprecedented and deeply disturbing, and this is agreed from either side of our country’s political spectrum. Moving forward, we can only hope that increasing political polarization in this country does not lead to more violent insurrections and turbulent political whirlwinds.