- The Washington Times
Monday, September 20, 2021

A man with a handgun who was arrested on Saturday at the “Justice for J6” rally is a federal law enforcement officer who will not be prosecuted, according to media reports.

The man, 27, is from New Jersey and works as an officer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, according to The Associated Press. He was arrested during the rally after someone alerted U.S. Capitol Police officers that they “spotted what appeared to be a handgun on a man in the crowd.”

At the time, USCP said it was “not clear” why the man was at the afternoon rally in support of Jan. 6 detainees who have alleged being treated harshly by jail staff or being denied the right to a speedy trial.

Police said he was charged with unlawful activities on Capitol grounds, but a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington said prosecutors are “not moving forward with charges,” according to the AP.

Two law enforcement officials, who spoke on a condition of anonymity, told the AP that the officer was not at the rally in any official capacity.

CBP is reportedly aware of the arrest and is “fully cooperating with the investigation.”

The arrest was one of four that USCP reported on Saturday.

The agency said officers also arrested a man who had a knife and charged him with a weapons violation. It did not specify where the man was arrested.

Officers also reportedly stopped a vehicle along Louisiana Avenue in the morning and arrested two people for felony extraditable warrants out of Texas — one warrant was for possession of a firearm and the other was for a probation violation.

USCP deputized outside law enforcement as special officers for the Saturday rally, which was located in Union Square on the west side of the Capitol grounds. 

The event began at noon and ended around 1:15 p.m., and the agency estimated that there were approximately 400 to 450 people inside the rally site — including attendees and members of the press.

A USCP spokesperson told The Washington Times in an email that the agency could not disclose the number of newly deputized special officers for “security reasons.”

During a press conference Friday, police said both the Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department would be fully activated for the rally, and 100 unarmed D.C. National Guard troops would be on standby.

In the days leading up to the rally, police re-erected a fence around the Capitol and the U.S. Supreme Court. They also installed surveillance cameras around the rally site and put up “No Gun Zone” signs.

There were a few verbal altercations between people at the rally, and counterprotests were also held elsewhere in the city. However, physical confrontations between rallygoers and counterdemonstrators — which were USCP Chief Tom Manger’s main concern for violence — did not happen.

• Emily Zantow can be reached at ezantow@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.