Six Michigan residents arrested in U.S. Capitol insurrection

Riley Beggin
The Detroit News

Washington — At least six Michigan residents have been arrested and charged in connection with Wednesday's insurrection in and around the U.S. Capitol building, according to the Washington Metropolitan Police Department. 

Four were arrested for violating the 6 p.m. Wednesday curfew imposed by Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser mid-afternoon Wednesday as the overrunning of security barriers began at the Capitol building.

One was arrested for a curfew violation as well as unlawful entry. Another, 25-year-old Leslie Grimes, was arrested for carrying a pistol without a license, carrying unregistered ammunition, and carrying a large capacity ammunition feeding device —  which Washington, D.C., law describes as a "magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device" that's capable of accepting more than 10 rounds of ammunition. 

If convicted, Grimes' charges could put her behind bars for up to nine years or cost her more than $27,000 in fines. 

Those arrested ranged in age from Grimes, the youngest at 25, to 65 years old.

The unrest-related arrests were reported Thursday morning on the police department's website. A spokesperson for the department confirmed the six arrests were related to Wednesday's riots at the Capitol building. In total, 70 people from states across the country were also reported in connection with the insurrection. 

Another 14 people were arrested by U.S. Capitol Police, most for unlawful entry, two for assaulting a police office and two for carrying a pistol without a license, among other charges. None of those arrested by Capitol police were from Michigan. 

The dozens of arrests pale in comparison with the hundreds of people who stormed the building Wednesday and come months after police were criticized for their response to protests against police brutality and racial inequity. In comparison, Metropolitan Police records show the agency arrested 317 people on June 1 alone, when Black Lives Matter protesters demonstrated in the city. 

Some lawmakers noted the contrast Thursday. Michigan U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib wrote on Twitter that "domestic terrorists get off scot-free after an attempted coup at our nation's Capitol" and compared it with protests last year, with "folks physically harmed, ticketed, and humiliated while peacefully protesting for a righteous cause."

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund released a statement Thursday saying law enforcement officers were responding to two bomb threats and a report of a "suspicious vehicle" at the same time the mob stormed the Capitol. 

Later in the day, Sund resigned amid criticism over how police reacted. The majority of the hundreds of protesters who stormed the building were allowed to leave without consequence, leaving investigators to track down those who were there.

"Maintaining public safety in an open environment — specifically for First Amendment activities — has long been a challenge," he said. "But make no mistake — these mass riots were not First Amendment activities; they were criminal riotous behavior. The actions of the USCP officers were heroic given the situation they faced."

The House sergeant at arms resigned Thursday and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California called for Sund to resign. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York also pledged to fire the Senate sergeant-at-arms when Democrats become the majority party in the chamber, Politico reported. 

Thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered near the White House Wednesday morning to protest Congress' planned confirmation of Electoral College votes for Democratic President-elect Joe Biden. Trump spoke at the rally, repeating unproven claims of widespread election fraud. 

The protest turned violent when hundreds of the president's supporters headed to the Capitol building, tussled with police, overran security barriers and broke windows to enter the building. Lawmakers, staff and journalists were locked down and then evacuated as protesters took over the chambers. 

One person was fatally shot and the National Guard was deployed, eventually clearing the building of protesters by around 6 p.m. Congress restarted the proceedings after 8 p.m. Wednesday.