Why police were unable to stop rioters from entering the US Capitol

  • Video report by ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo


Could the siege of the US Capitol been prevented?

ITV News and the Center for Countering Digital Hate found there were messages posted in various Pro-Trump groups which mentioned "storming the Capitol" in the days leading up to the siege of the US Capitol.

Five people died and dozens have since been arrested after hundreds stormed into the historic US building.

So why were police not able to stop rioters from entering the US building?

Here's how the siege of one of the United State's most iconic buildings unfolded:

Messages unearthed by ITV News, posted online in the days before the rally, reveal that protesters had publicly disclosed their plans to storm the Capitol buildings, which they referred to as "Our House".

These are some of the messages unearthed by ITV News ahead of the Trump rally. Credit: ITV News/Center for Countering Digital Hate

ITV News' Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo reports: "On the eve on the protests one said 'I think turn out is going to be great.'

"Another responded to that saying: 'You mean when we storm the Capitol?'"

One post said "GOTTA OVERWHELM THOSE BARRICADES AND COPS", while another wrote "STORM THE GATES!!!, uncovered with the Center for Countering Digital Hate.

Among other messages were "we just have to get past the barricades and they'll panic and try to flee" and "there are side doors that visitors use that are normal doors”.

6 January

During Donald Trump's speech at the rally in Washington, the US President repeated his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud during the November 2020 presidential election.

He also urged his supporters to march on Congress.

As Trump began his speech, one of his fan's post read: "He needs to give orders like 'Storm Congress' and 'Citizens arrest'."

One response said, "Are you watching the speech right now, he's calling on us to do something?"

Trump supporters participate in Wednesday’s rally Credit: John Minchillo/AP

Addressing the crowd of several thousand supporters, Trump said: "We're going to walk down to the Capitol, and we're going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you'll never take back our country with weakness.

"You have to show strength, and you have to be strong," he added.

13:43

There are 78 officers in uniform, however many are not dressed prepared for riots.

Pro-Trump fans in the crowd also shouted at officers warning, "You're outnumbered".

13:44

Just a minute later and officers are still changing into more suitable gear for violence.

Some appear to be taking their time as they gear up, while others are having teargas washed out of their eyes.

However, to the left of the iconic stairs, only seven officers appear to be guarding what looks like a potential entrance to the building.

13:46

"Freedom, freedom, freedom".

Those are the chants from Pro-Trump fans of a rallying call.

13:50

Officers are clearly outnumbered and appear to back off.

A protester grabs one of the officer's attention and then guides them back towards the steps and away from the chaos.

But officers are becoming overwhelming as hundreds charge through that entrance and are met with a large metal fencing barrier.

13:52

Two police officers watch from above a large scaffolding tower as hundreds are squeezed together.

Another officer fires pellets from above, however that does not deter anyone and he soon runs out of the ammunition.

Soon the protesters realise there is no doorway from here that leads to the US capitol.

"Find another way, pass it back" - protesters shout.

13:54

It's been almost five minutes since protesters stormed towards this barrier and only now are some police on the move.

Of the 10 officers trying to withhold the crowd, only two appear to be dressed for a riot.

One officer, without riot gear, uses his police baton as he tries to tackle a rioter.

13:59

The noticeable difference when he arrives back at the side area of the US Capitol is that he is now wearing a face mask.

Still, there are hundreds of protesters and rioters here waiting to get their leg up into the US capitol.

14:12

It's now 22 minutes since the breach and another officers appears laid back and unsure of how to respond.

He is heard telling another officer: "What do you want me to do?"

14:13

Inside the building and another officer is attempting to have a peaceful discussion with a rioter.

He says, "You guys have got families to get to, I've got a family to go to."

Another officer is also telling them that they've already made an impact.

"You guys already made a difference, you have made a difference," he said.

14:13

Three officers are now engaged in talking down the rioters, in what appears to be the Madison model of policing, ITV News' Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo reports.

But the officers are unsuccessful.

Chants of "Our house" and "This is our house" continue to echo around the chambers.


  • Watch Robert Moore's report from inside the US Capitol on January 6