Members of the Capitol Police will be among the first to testify during the House select committee investigation into the Jan. 6 riot, according to Rep. Bennie Thompson, who will lead the panel. But social media posts have made the unfounded claim that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “won’t let Capitol Police testify about what happened Jan. 6.”
After a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, following a rally led by then-President Donald Trump, there have been various false or unsupported claims and theories circulating on social media about what occurred during the riot, as we’ve reported.
To examine what happened on Jan. 6, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced a bill to establish a House Select Committee that will investigate the “circumstances relating to the attack.” The committee will “evaluate the causes of and the lessons learned,” and “submit a report containing findings, conclusions, and recommendations to prevent future acts of violence, domestic terrorism, and domestic violent extremism, and to improve the security of the U.S. Capitol Complex.”
The bill passed on June 30 by a 222-190 vote, with 190 House Republicans voting against the formation of the committee. Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois were the only Republicans to vote for the committee investigation.
On July 1, Pelosi named Cheney as the first Republican to join the 13-member select committee. The committee also includes Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi — who will lead the panel– House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, House Administration Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, Reps. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Stephanie Murphy of Florida and Pete Aguilar of California.
The other five members have not yet been named but must be appointed after consultation with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Pelosi will have the final say on who will serve.
But before the composition of the panel is even complete, unfounded claims have been shared on social media about the committee and who will be called to testify.
A post on Facebook reads, “PELOSI WON’T LET CAPITOL POLICE TESTIFY ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED JAN 6. THAT TELLS YOU EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW.”
“Why is Pelosi Not letting the Capital Police testify,” asks a tweet by someone who uses the name of deceased former Illinois Gov. John Riley Tanner.
Although it is not yet clear when hearings will occur or how long the process will take, in an interview on MSNBC’s “All in with Chris Hayes,” Thompson said, “I think it’s important to see who was complicit and what went on, on Jan. 6. Whether there were outside forces, inside forces, we will look at all of them.”
He also said, “The first one we want to talk to are the members of the Capitol Police. … We’ve talked to the brass of the Capitol Police, but we’ve not talked to the rank-and-file people who fought those insurrectionists that day, and in my opinion, saved the lives of a lot of Americans in the process. We need to hear from them.”
The committee has subpoena powers, but it is unclear who else the panel will call to testify.
During the riot, three individuals died due to apparent medical emergencies and one was shot to death by police. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick suffered two strokes about eight hours after being sprayed with a chemical irritant during the riot, according to the Washington Post. District of Columbia Chief Medical Examiner Francisco J. Diaz told the Post that Sicknick died of natural causes, but “all that transpired played a role in his condition.” Two other police officers died by suicide after the riot.
Update, July 28: On July 27, four members of the Capitol Police testified at the first hearing of the Jan. 6 House select committee.
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.
Caldwell, Leigh Ann et al. “McCarthy expected to appoint Republicans to Jan. 6 select committee.” NBC. Updated 7 Jul 2021.
Emma, Caitlin and Sarah Ferris. “Second police officer died by suicide following Capitol attack.” Politico. 27 Jan 2021.
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Fichera, Angelo. “Video Doesn’t Prove Capitol Police Allowed Jan. 6 Protesters to Enter Capitol.” FactCheck.org. 21 May 2021.
Gore, D’Angelo. “Conservative Outlets Advance Unfounded Theory About Capitol Attack.” FactCheck.org. 18 Jun 2021.
Healy, Jack. “These Are the 5 People Who Died in the Capitol Riot.” New York Times. Updated 22 Feb 2021.
“U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to resign later this month; new Capitol fence in place for 30 days.” Washington Post. 7 Jan 2021.
U.S. House. “H.R. 503 – Establishing the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.” (as passed by the House 30 Jun 2021.)
U.S. House. H.R. 503, roll call vote #197. 30 Jun 2021.
Wise, Alana. “Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick Died Of Natural Causes, Medical Examiner Rules.” NPR. 19 Apr 2021.