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10: Cuffed through the Capitol

I had lost all sense of time. I had just been dragged across a doorway by an officer. My backpack was removed, and my pockets were emptied. The officer (I will not use his name) asked me if I had a gun or weapon in my backpack. I said no, there's some water, snacks. I've never owned a gun.

During a pat down, my hearing aid fell out. First, the officer wanted me to tell HIM how to put in a hearing aid. I assured him that will not work. It's a bit like saying you want to put a contact lens in my eye. The officer was reluctant to let me put it back in, but I told him, well, I can't hear without it. So, he grabbed another officer to hold me, I guess because he thought I might leave? That I would be violent? Made no sense to me. So I was uncuffed to put in my hearing aid.

After that, I sat on the ground with a few others. As I said, I lost all sense of time. We were moved to a different hallway, and then another. I asked for water, and the officer grabbed one from my backpack.

At one point, I saw paramedics and heard sirens. That may have been for Ashli Babbitt. At another time, I saw about 20-30 troops with weapons come through a door and walk down a hallway. During this time, the officers who were in charge of the six or so of us were working to get us out of the building and to the metro police station.

As we went from hallway to hallway, the officers would look outside where they could. It was nothing but a sea of Trump supporters outside on the lawn. The concern was that, if the crowd saw us in handcuffs, they would storm in, I guess. Eventually, they identified an underground platform for a vehicle to pick us up. We were taken to the station.

One by one, we were released out of the van, and brought into the station. I had to provide all of my contact info (since I had given my driver's license to my wife hours earlier so she could get a room key - see prior post for more info). After a bit of paperwork and back and forth, my handcuffs were removed, and I was told to sit in an office. The officer was pleasant enough. I naively thought that, hey, this misunderstanding will be settled and I can be on my way. I had trespassed to protest, not a big deal - I'd seen it on nightly news every now and then.

I guess they had more arrests than they can handle, and this office was an overflow room. A few others came in, and we chatted. We were smart enough to not talk about what had happened. After what seemed like forever, we were told we were being given a citation from the metro police for trespassing, and if we show up for the court date, the charges would likely be dropped. That sounds easy enough.

A curfew had been put in place that evening to make sure there was no activity. I was let out, literally, onto a sloped parking garage exit, with my phone and backpack. I had no idea where I was, or where my hotel might be. I walked into the night air around 9:30 PM. I used my phone to figure out where I was. I had a long walk ahead of me. My shoelaces were undone. The officers told me to keep them undone, in case I meet an officer. I can point to my shoes and explain that I'd just been let out.

In the meantime, as you can imagine, I had many texts from my wife. She was so worried. I texted her and told her I'd been arrested, and I'm ok and on my way. I didn't call her, because I didn't want to be distracted. Who knows what's going on in the neighborhoods where I was walking. I'm not knowledgeable about DC (especially at night), so I stayed near lit streets. I did see a few officers who were patrolling major intersections, talked to one about the safest route, and had no problems.

I arrived at my hotel, bruised and upset. However, I had only received a citation for trespassing in the Capitol. I had no idea of what else had happened that day, in the chambers or among protesters. We went to bed, and got up early to drive home.


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