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An argument about policing broke out among Democratic lawmakers as they hid from January 6 rioters.
"They just saved our lives," Rep. Cheri Bustos said in arguing about the importance of police.
"You still want to defend police?" a fellow Democrat shot back, showing a video of rioters streaming past cops.
Some House Democrats got into an argument amongst themselves about the party's stance on police while on lock down during the January 6 riot, with lawmakers butting heads over the role of the Capitol Police in protecting them from rioters.
That's according to reporting included in "This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America's Future," a forthcoming book from the New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns.
As the Capitol was under siege, House members were evacuated to the Ways and Means Committee room in the Longworth House Office building. Both Republicans and Democrats were present, with a video from Punchbowl News showing a tense interaction as Republicans declined to wear masks in the crowded, enclosed space.
But the tension wasn't only between members of the two parties.
According to the book, Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois — a moderate, swing-district congresswoman who'd just come off a stint chairing the House Democrats' campaign arm — told a group of colleagues in the room that she believed the day served as a lesson about the importance of police.
"They just saved our lives," Bustos reportedly said.
But that reportedly took her Democratic colleagues aback, given that police had failed to prevent rioters from breaching the Capitol. According to Bustos, an unnamed fellow Democratic lawmakers showed her a video that appeared to show the rioters passing by them unimpeded.
"Look at this video — you still want to defend the police?" the lawmaker said. Videos from that day showed rioters overwhelming police at various barricades outside the Capitol.
However, police did not actively coordinate or cooperate with the rioters, as some believed at the time.
Still, the clip troubled Bustos, prompting her to text the same clip to her husband Gerry, the Rock Island County Sheriff, who told her that the police were clearly overrun.
"Their own lives are in danger," he responded.
Reached for comment, Bustos spokeswoman Heather Sager did not dispute the reported interaction.
"The Capitol Police saved Congresswoman Bustos' life and the lives of her colleagues during the Jan. 6 insurrection," she told Insider in a statement. "Five of those officers are now dead; 150 were injured — attacked with baseball bats, lead pipes, bricks and flag poles. You bet the Congresswoman is grateful for their heroic actions and supports them."
The vignette reveals the complexity of lawmakers' emotions and discussions as the Capitol complex was overrun by hordes of pro-Trump rioters.
It also came on the heels of a 2020 election in which Democrats' stances on policing — particularly, the notion that some supported defunding the police — had seemingly negatively impacted their party's chances in some House elections across the country.
Bustos herself told The Hill in June 2021 that "defund the police was not the right message" for Democrats.
"My husband's a sheriff of Rockland County, Illinois, so I do not believe in defunding police," she said. "I believe in adequately funding police, and making sure that you know we get this right."
"You get tied in with people in your party who actually are saying those words, I just I think that we've got to get this right," she added. "It's a very important issue."
Read the original article on Business Insider