Proud Boys documentarian to be among first Jan. 6 witnesses

Mary Clare Jalonick and Michael Balsamo
Associated Press

Washington – The House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection is expected to focus part of its first hearing Thursday on far-right extremists who broke into the building that day, with testimony from a documentary filmmaker who recorded the riot and a Capitol Police officer who was one of the first people injured in the attack.

British filmmaker Nick Quested, who recorded members of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group as they stormed the building, told The Associated Press on Monday that he will be among the witnesses in Thursday night’s prime-time hearing.

In this Jan. 6, 2021, photo, Proud Boys including Joseph Biggs, right, walks toward the U.S. Capitol in Washington, in support of President Donald Trump. Zachary Rehl is on the left and with the megaphone is Ethan Nordean.

The committee is also expected to hear testimony from Caroline Edwards, a U.S. Capitol Police officer who was seriously injured as the rioters, including members of the Proud Boys, shoved past police officers and forced their way into the Capitol. That’s according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to discuss the committee’s plans.

The panel has not yet announced a full list of witnesses for the hearing, which is expected to be a broad, multimedia overview of the committee’s findings and a reminder to the public of the violence of the day. The committee is expected to hold multiple hearings this month, with other hearings in the coming weeks diving into more specifics of the planning behind the attack.

Lawmakers are focused not only on the extremist groups that were among the rioters, but also on President Donald Trump’s actions at the White House while the mob of his supporters beat law enforcement officers and broke into the building.

Quested, a British filmmaker who also witnessed some of the Proud Boys’ planning before the attack on the Capitol, was present for some of the most extraordinary events that took place that day, accompanying members of the extremist group as they walked to the Capitol from Trump’s morning speech in front of the White House, as they broke through police barriers and eventually into the building, and as hundreds of Trump’s supporters moved through the Capitol to protest his defeat.

He also filmed Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, then the leader of the Proud Boys, the night before when Tarrio met in an underground Washington garage with Elmer “Stewart” Rhodes, the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers, another extremist group present at the riot. His video did not record the conversation but shows the two meeting in the garage with other members of the groups.

Tarrio and other members of the group were charged on Monday with seditious conspiracy for what federal prosecutors say was a coordinated attack to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory. Rhodes was indicted on similar charges earlier this year.

Quested, who was filming the group as part of a documentary about extremism in America, was interviewed by the committee behind closed doors in recent weeks and has turned over some of his video to the panel. He said he was also interviewed by the Justice Department, which is prosecuting hundreds of cases related to the insurrection.

He is expected to describe his experiences that day, and potentially what he witnessed behind closed doors, as the Jan. 6 panel begins the series of hearings to explain to the American public what happened and how it occurred. The committee has conducted more than 1,000 interviews since last summer as it has attempted to create the most comprehensive record yet of the insurrection.

Edwards was one of the first officers to be injured on the West front of the Capitol as the crowd began to push inside. She suffered a head injury and said afterward that officers need better support.

Federal authorities have linked more than three dozen people charged in the Capitol siege to the Proud Boys. Its members describe it as a politically incorrect men’s club for “Western chauvinists.”

The expected testimony from Quested and Edwards was first reported by the The New York Times.