WASHINGTON, D.C. — Accounts of the chaos at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, opened the second day of testimony in Capitol rioter Doug Jensen’s trial on Wednesday.
A witness described the Des Moines, Iowa, resident, one of the first to breach the U.S. Capitol, as at one point becoming the “leader of the mob.”
U.S. Capitol police Inspector Thomas Lloyd, a 32-year veteran of the force who faced off with Jensen at the Capitol, testified that his job that day was coordinating the arrival of then-Vice President Mike Pence and his Secret Service team at the Senate chamber.
Minutes after Pence and his team arrived, around 12:30 or 12:40 p.m., Lloyd said, he received a call from Chad Thomas, assistant chief of the U.S. Capitol police, warning him that “a lot of people” were coming his way.
He said he had never heard panic in Thomas’ voice until that day.
He spent the rest of the day fending off rioters from the front lines on the west side of the Capitol and at both chambers of Congress. He repeatedly described the scene as “complete chaos” and “total chaos,” as rioters used bats, sections of fencing and tools abandoned by a construction crew as weapons.
“It was just a few of our officers versus hundreds of thousands of people,” Lloyd said.
Jensen trial: ‘Not a whodunnit case’: Capitol rioter Doug Jensen’s trial begins with opening remarks
USCP inspector, Jensen face off
Lloyd recalled Jensen as “the QAnon guy,” because of the giant red, white and blue “Q” plastered on his shirt.
Shortly after 2 p.m., Lloyd came face to face with Jensen in the Senate wing of the Capitol complex. He described Jensen as “arrogant” and “cocky,” and the “leader of the mob at that point,” waving the rioters forward.
“He knew he had a lot more muscle behind him than I did,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd said Jensen urged him and the handful of officers with him to surrender the building to the mob. After Lloyd declined, Jensen asked Lloyd to arrest Pence, who was at the Capitol in his capacity as Senate president to preside over the ceremonial certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election win.
In rebuttal, defense attorney Christopher Davis argued that the police did not draw their weapons and that Lloyd could not have known the intentions behind Jensen’s gesture to the crowd that he interpreted as signaling them to advance.
Prosecution, defense give roadmap to case in opening remarks
Jensen faces seven criminal charges, including a felony count of civil disorder, which holds a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The heart of the prosecution’s case are the many videos and images of Jensen at the Capitol.
During their opening remarks, the prosecutors showed video of Jensen entering the building, yelling at officers and chasing U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman up a Capitol stairwell.
Jensen is easily identifiable in the images thanks to his outfit: a beanie and the black shirt with a giant “Q” on it, in homage to the conspiracist movement QAnon, worn over a gray and black sweatshirt.
The defense did not attempt to claim Jensen was not present at the Capitol that day, instead painting a distinction between the Capitol rioters “dressed in costume” and those “dressed for battle” — of which they argued Jensen was among the former.
“This is not a ‘whodunnit’ case,” Davis, Jensen’s attorney, said in his opening remarks.
Seven witnesses to take stand for prosecution
The prosecution said it plans to call seven witnesses. In addition to Lloyd they include Goodman, who was recorded on video guiding Jensen and other rioters away from the Senate chamber where lawmakers were still evacuating.
Also set to testify are FBI Special Agent Tyler Johnson, who conducted an interview with Jensen in Des Moines days after the attack, and a Secret Service agent tasked with evacuating Pence from the Capitol.
Male-dominated jury selected
The trial began Monday with jury selection, which extended through most of Tuesday’s proceedings. The jury, which includes two alternates, is comprised of 10 men and four women.
The trial is not expected to last longer than a few days, the judge said.
Of the eight Capitol riot cases to go to trial so far, none have ended in acquittal or dismissal of charges.