I wanted to reach out and share a little bit more about public safety preparations for Saturday's planned rally around the January 6th insurrectionists.
This email will focus just on sharing a little about preparation and some guidance for Saturday for neighbors in the immediate area or anyone planning to be in the area. If you're looking for my most recent neighborhood update, click here.
First, the rally organizers have a permit for the west side of the Capitol Building at Union Square (near the Grant statue) at 12 noon on Saturday, September 18, and their event is scheduled to end at 1:30pm that afternoon. I've been in meetings with US Capitol Police leadership, MPD, DC's Department of Corrections (DOC), and our Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA). I want to assure you that there is a lot of coordinated effort and planning that takes this event very seriously. While I cannot share tactical plans and preparations publicly, I do want to express my confidence that Chief Manger of the US Capitol Police and our own DC counterparts are treating this with the seriousness I believe is needed. Attendance estimates for the rally are numbering in just the few hundreds, but the city is taking precautions in the event a larger crowd appears.
As you've likely seen, US Capitol Police will be erecting a temporary fence this week. While the decision to build the fence is entirely controlled by the Capitol Police, in my meeting with USCP Chief Manger, I requested the fence have as small a footprint as possible and remain up for as short a time as possible. Chief Manger agreed on those priorities. In addition, the USCP has cancelled leave and activated all officers to be available on the 18th.
I know many neighbors are concerned that some within this rally group might make their way to the DC Jail in Hill East, where several of the defendants charged with the January 6th insurrection are being held. I've also been in confidential briefings with local law enforcement, who have made plans for several possible scenarios in response. At the same time, they are working through ensuring the safety of the surrounding neighborhoods for residents and visitors alike. MPD leadership has told me they will be fully staffed and and feel confident their preparations to manage any scenario that may play out.
As for the H Street Festival - taking place the same day on H Street NE between 3rd and 15th Streets, NE - it will have police and security deployments specific to its needs. So far, there’s no indication that the insurrectionist rally would head to or be interested in the H Street Festival. But that said, I’ve talked with MPD, HSEMA, and others to ensure the city is planning for all contingencies to ensure safe and successful events and that they are staffing appropriately. Thus far, I’m confident in all the details that law enforcement partners have outlined and I’m having further briefings this week to stay updated on that planning.
Finally, I've talked with several houses of worship and faith institutions that are concerned as well about Saturday's events. I've connected each to the Interfaith Liaison at HSEMA so that they can access the information they need. If you're a member of a congregation that needs a similar connection, please let me know.
I'd urge Ward 6 neighbors to avoid attending or organizing a counter-protest. Between the delta variant of COVID-19 and perhaps an unhinged supporter of the insurrection looking for a fight, it simply isn't worth the risk. Stay clear of the area and allow law enforcement to do their job. The weather is supposed to be great and it would be a perfect day to head out to see the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, take a hike around Kingman Island, or maybe visit the National Arboretum and enjoy life in our community.
However, if you witness anything suspicious related to the activities of this group and want to alert law enforcement, call 202-727-9099, which goes to HSEMA's tip line, or 911 in the event of an emergency.
Thank you. We are a strong community and I know we are better and stronger than the messages we will see coming out of this group on Saturday. The attacks on reality, our democracy, and our shared values will not prevail in our work to build a more unified community for all.
I'll be sure to share any updates I have on my Twitter account and on this email listserv if the need arises.
See you around the neighborhood,