A Black Capitol Police officer reportedly put on a MAGA hat to rescue his fellow officers during the Capitol siege

Grace Panetta
·3 min read
capitol police riot
Pro-Trump protestors clash with police during the tally of electoral votes that that would certify Joe Biden as the winner of the U.S. presidential election outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • A Black Capitol Police officer who was suspended after being seen wearing a "MAGA" hat while defending the Capitol from the January 6 siege did so to try to free fellow officers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

  • Video footage of the day's events showed the officer, identified as Lt. Tarik Khalid Johnson, apparently masquerading as a Trump supporter to get help from protesters to make his way through the crowd on the steps.

  • The entrance to the Capitol was incredibly packed and crowded with rioters, but the group Johnson recruited to help him successfully shouted to the crowd to "make a hole" and "let the cops leave!"

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A Black Capitol Police officer who was suspended after being photographed wearing a red "Make America Great Again" while on-duty defending the Capitol on January 6 says he did so in order to blend in with the crowd to save his fellow officers from danger, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The Journal reported that the officer, identified as Lt. Tarik Khalid Johnson, who is a registered Democrat and has voted in Democratic primaries in Maryland, has told his coworkers in recent days that he put on the cap to "win the trust" of protesters to get through the crowd and try to rescue officers who were trapped inside the Capitol.

The Journal said that his efforts to get officers out of the building allowed other police inside of the Capitol to close that entrance to prevent more people from going inside.

Read more: Cop to Capitol rioters who helped him after others threatened to kill him with his own gun: 'Thank you, but f--- you for being there'

Video footage captured by Florida filmmaker Rico La Starza and posted to YouTube shows Lt. Johnson, wearing a MAGA cap, apparently masquerading as a Trump supporter to form a connection with a small group of protesters.

"We're getting beat up, but the people who didn't vote for him, they're laughing at us," he says, before asking them to help him get inside to get the trapped officers out of the Capitol. The footage then shows Johnson handing over his bullhorn to the protesters, who helped clear the path up the crowded Capitol steps to let Johnson get inside.

The entrance to the Capitol was incredibly packed and crowded with rioters, but the group Johnson recruited successfully shouted to the crowd to "make a hole" and "let the cops leave!"

After the group cleared a path at the entrance, several officers wearing body armor and face shields were seen exiting, with protesters and rioters thanking them as they left while others chanted, "USA! USA!"

Read more: Historians worry a Trump library will be an airbrushed 'MAGA' tribute to a twice-impeached president

Five people died in the day's violence, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher. Several other officers suffered injuries as a result of the uprising.

The Capitol police leadership has been harshly criticized for their failure to adequately prepare for the insurrection. Three officers have been suspended in connection with the events of January 6.

Another Capitol police officer told the Journal that he heard Johnson ask for permission over the radio to try to win over the rioters, some of whom were attacking Black officers with racial slurs, as part of his plan to rescue officers from inside, but no one responded to him.

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