No signs of unrest at California Capitol as CHP and National Guard remain vigilant

Rosalio Ahumada
·4 min read

The area around the state Capitol building in downtown Sacramento was calm with no signs of unrest Tuesday morning as National Guard troops and California Highway Patrol officer remained vigilant there in advance of Wednesday’s presidential inauguration.

A six-foot cyclone fence, installed late last week, continued to encircle the perimeter around California’s Capitol building. CHP officers and National Guard soldiers were stationed on the Capitol grounds and entrances. Other officers and soldiers remained at their posts Tuesday, guarding nearby state buildings and the federal courthouse.

California National Guard troops have been deployed throughout downtown Sacramento since early Saturday in response to a threat of violence that was expected to last through Inauguration Day.

In front of the Capitol building, 10th Street and Sacramento’s Capitol Mall was open to traffic Tuesday. Desert-painted National Guard trucks and Humvees were parked along L and N streets and outside nearby buildings.

The only other signs of activity around the state Capitol on Tuesday morning were dog walkers, joggers and few other pedestrians along the cyclone fence. The windows on the first floor of some nearby office buildings remained boarded up.

After a pro-President Donald Trump rally on Jan. 6 in Washington D.C., led to a riot and the siege of the U.S. Capitol building as Congress met to uphold the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joe Biden, the FBI warned officials at statehouses and capitols throughout the country to be on alert for potential violence leading up to the inauguration.

The area around the state Capitol was relatively calm throughout the past weekend, including the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday. By Sunday afternoon, a few demonstrators had appeared, all of them repeating appearances they made Saturday.

On Friday, CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray placed officers on tactical alert due to the potential of “civil unrest” related to Wednesday’s inauguration, according to a news release. CHP officers will remain on alert for an indefinite period with the primary focus on protecting California’s Capitol building, other state buildings and state highways.

“The CHP maintains strong relationships with our security and intelligence partners around the country and is continually evaluating possible emerging threats to the state,” Ray said in the news release. “As such, the CHP is prepared to respond to any potential threats which may arise statewide.”

About 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, the Sacramento Police Department announced on Twitter that there were no active demonstrations downtown. The department will provide any further updates on its Twitter account.

As pro-Trump rioters launched an attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, a Trump rally of several hundred supporters of the defeated president outside the California Capitol escalated to numerous skirmishes stopped by police and 12 arrests.

The people arrested Jan. 6 in downtown Sacramento were cited and released on suspicion of illegally possessing pepper spray. One of them also was cited for illegally possessing a baton, police officials said.

Among those arrested were nine people who participated in the pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” rally in Sacramento and three people who participated in a counter-protest, according to police. Department officials said the two opposing groups were involved in the clashes separated by officers.

Police officials initially released the ages, cities of residence and affiliations of those arrested, but they declined to release their names, citing safety reasons. The Police Department last week released the names of those cited during the Jan. 6 unrest in downtown Sacramento:

  • Jed Keonigshofer, 40, of Sacramento, pro-Trump rally

  • Joey Boston, 18, of Citrus Heights, pro-Trump rally

  • Wyatt Beck, 18, of Roseville, pro-Trump rally

  • Joshua Craft, 27, of Roseville, pro-Trump rally

  • Rodney Mattos, 54, of Roseville, pro-Trump rally

  • Dustin Powell, 35, of Roseville, pro-Trump rally

  • Christopher Reading, 56, of Chico, pro-Trump rally

  • Margaret Shaw, 73, of Cloverdale, pro-Trump rally

  • Mark Strachan, 57, of San Jose, pro-Trump rally

  • Elisha Coleman, 22, of Turlock, counter-protest (Additional baton charge)

  • Lawrence Klink, 30, of Grass Valley, counter-protest

  • Olivia Terhorste-Steele, 26, of Nevada City, counter-protest

California National Guard troops sent to Washington, D.C.

More than 300 soldiers and airmen with the California National Guard have been deployed over the weekend to Washington, D.C., to provide support for Biden’s inauguration ceremony.

The majority of the soldiers were deployed to the nation’s capital for civil support operations, according to a news release from the California National Guard. The troops are from all over the state. About 150 soldiers belong to the 115th Regional Support Group headquartered in Roseville, and another 100 soldiers belong to the 100 Troop Command headquartered in Moreno Valley.

Among the National Guard troops sent to Washington, D.C., about 20 troops from the Cal Guard’s 9th Civil Support Team based in Los Alamitos has been activated to provide chemical-biological agent detection on-site, three religious support teams will be there to provide spiritual support and five soldiers trained in explosive ordnance detection will be on hand.