Video maker recalls violence and tension from Capitol Hill riot a year later
WASHINGTON DC – Almost a year after Brendan Gutenschwager captured a video of protesters marching towards the United States Capitol on January 6, the independent videographer still remembers the tension as the crowd first clashed with the forces of the United States. order along the perimeter of the building.
“You had 50 to 100 officers outside on the west side of the building and well over 10,000 people, with the number increasing every minute,” Gutenschwager said. “Seeing this massive crowd forming, with people at the front already in hand-to-hand combat with the police or throwing objects at them, [I was] I wondered where this was going to go.
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Gutenschwager spent much of 2020 traveling the country documenting protests and riots in cities like Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis and Kenosha. The videographer generally licenses his video footage to news organizations or sharing on Twitterr.
Reflecting on the protesters who smashed windows and doors to enter the United States Capitol during the session of Congress, the videographer believes the Washington, DC incident was symbolically different from previous protests.
“I think the timing and the setting were so shocking for people,” Gutenschwager said. “For all the other times – riots, unrest – that have happened throughout 2020, there may have been more actual physical damage in terms of buildings, vehicles, personal property, things like that. But they did not specifically occur during an electoral college certification.
Although Gutenschwager saw protesters physically attacking law enforcement officials, he now believes not everyone in the crowd was aware of the violence that occurred before the Capitol was violated.
“You had people on those front lines who were fighting with the police, getting very violent, [using] bear spray, throwing different things and things, ”he said. “But at the same time, you had people in the crowd who had no idea what was going on.”
Gutenschwager believes it is difficult for those who weren’t in Washington, DC that day to grasp the size of the crowd and how outnumbered the Capitol cops were.
“You had (officers) who stood firm and refused to give an inch in certain parts of the building. [while] others were completely overwhelmed and essentially had to give up their posts, ”he said.
Federal authorities used footage of Gutenschwager and other videographers to identify and then prosecute suspected rioters.
These videos also gave the audience a better understanding of what happened on January 6.
“I have never seen an individual date so dissected and analyzed,” Gutenschwage said. “As a professional I’m happy that I was able to be there to cover and show people what happened that day.”
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