Capitol Police chief on preparations for ‘Justice for J6’ rally: ‘We’re not taking any chances’

U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger took questions from the media on Friday about security preparations ahead of Saturday’s “Justice for J6” rally being held in support of those accused of crimes in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Manger said it was difficult to determine if the threats of violence related to Saturday’s rally are credible, but citing the Jan. 6. attack itself, he said, “We’re not taking any chances.”

Video Transcript

J. THOMAS MANGER: Thank you. Yes.

- Chief, several of you said you expect this to be a peaceful demonstration here tomorrow. So I'm wondering, then, if the enhanced security posture, the fence, the full activation of these officers is based on specific intelligence that it won't be, or just a desire to not leave anything to chance.

J. THOMAS MANGER: I think the answer to that is all of the above. I mean, first of all, this is-- I think we would be foolish not to take seriously the intelligence that we have at our disposal. How credible it is, how likely it is, people can make those judgments. But the fact of the matter is that we are hearing-- we are hearing some chatter that I think would be responsible for us to plan the way we've been planning and put the precautions in place.

But also, this is as good a time as any to practice this model-- this regional model where we get help from neighboring agencies, where we work in conjunction with the city to prepare for big events. This won't be the last time that we have this kind of preparation for an event. Yes, ma'am.

- So is this the new normal for every large protest that will take place? Is it going to be this level of planning?

J. THOMAS MANGER: I don't know that it's-- it's the new normal in the respect that if we have information that there could be violence or there could be issues, there would be this kind of planning. It doesn't necessarily depend on the size of the event.

There are events where 50,000 people are expected, and it might not have this-- we might not do the same things in preparation just because of the nature of the event and the intelligence associated with it. Yes.

- You have said that there have been some threats of violence. In your view, are those threats of violence credible?

J. THOMAS MANGER: It's tough to say whether they're credible or not. We don't know with any certainty. But what we do know is that the chatter that we heard prior to January 6 obviously turned out to be-- many of those threats turned out to be, in fact, credible. And so we're not taking any chances.

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