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First responders describe chaos at US Capitol riot

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Two members of the Arlington County Police Department’s Civil Disturbance Unit provided a debriefing memo, obtained by CNN, that details their experience during harrowing moments of being the only medical assets on the scene for all law enforcement agencies during the US Capitol riots.

The memo describes how Lt. Ned Waterfall and public information officer Taylor Blunt treated badly beaten police officers and even attempted to aid protesters, but because of the hundreds of people that crowded the Capitol steps, they said they were unable to reach those who died.

Waterfall and Blunt were among a team of Arlington County law enforcement deployed to Washington, DC, on January 5 and January 6 in preparation for “on-going development of intelligence … and the potential for violence,” according to a letter written on January 4 by Metropolitan Police Department’s Acting Chief of Police Robert J. Contee, III.

The memo says the duo arrived at the US Capitol around 3:30 p.m. on January 6 after shots were fired inside the building. The members of CDU joined officers with DC’s Metropolitan Police Department to execute a plan to move the crowd away from the Capitol.

“We were among the first mutual aid teams to arrive and were critical to begin the process of driving protesters off the Capitol,” Blunt wrote on January 7 in a letter obtained by CNN through open records.

The Capitol steps were flooded with protesters waving flags and holding “Stop the Count” signs while others broke the windows of the building and entered the building. As members of Congress were escorted away from the Senate floor and into private bunkers for safety, some of the enraged rioters entered the Senate chamber in protest of the Senate’s confirmation of President Joe Biden.

Five people, including US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, were killed. Dozens of responding law enforcement officers were injured in the fray and now more than 150 criminal cases are now pending against people for their involvement in the riot.

Blunt wrote that he heard the radio calls to aid three protestors who later died “due to medical related issues,” but there was no way to “safely access these patients due to the crowd activity.”

During the chaos, Blunt said, they helped about seven protesters “who became ill or injured. While most were legitimate symptoms such as injuries from being knocked down or syncope/weakness, some protesters feigned illness to remain behind police lines.

“Being on the Capitol steps, there was no option for rapid ground transport or UTV access. Until later in the operation, Lt. Waterfall and I were on the only CDU medical assets available for all agencies. (We were eventually joined by Montgomery County PD EMTs),” Blunt wrote.

Blunt said they treated and evaluated about eight injured officers who “suffered injuries from being pulled into the crowd and trampled, assaulted with scaffolding materials, and/or bear maced by protesters. Of the eight injured, four were unable to walk, required us to work with other officers to pull them up the steps to the secure area.”

Dozens of police officers and protesters were also injured, officials said. No Arlington County Police Department Civil Disturbance Unit members were injured, Blunt wrote.

Blunt and Waterfall referred questions for comment by CNN to the Arlington County Police Department, who declined Friday to provide additional details.

Article Topic Follows: National Politics

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