A federal prosecutor admitted in court papers that three D.C. Metropolitan Police Department undercover officers acted as provocateurs at the northwest steps of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The admission came in a March 24 filing before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras that seeks to keep video footage shot by the officers under court seal.
Prosecutors accused the case defendant—William Pope of Topeka, Kansas—of an “illegitimate” attempt to unmask the video as part of his alleged strategy to try the case in the news media. Pope filed a motion to remove the court seal on Feb. 21.
“The defendant is not entitled to ‘undesignate’ these videos to share them with unlimited third parties,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Moran. “His desire to try his case in the media rather than in a court of law is illegitimate, and the government has met its burden to show the necessity of the protective order.”
Videos long hidden under court seal have become a major topic, especially with prosecutors disclosing in a number of high-profile Jan. 6 cases the involvement of multiple FBI informants.
Pope is seeking to lift the court seal on the undercover video as part of his drive to obtain full access to video evidence held by the government. Pope is representing himself in the criminal case being prosecuted against him. At a hearing on March 3, Judge Contreras seemed sympathetic to Pope’s motion to unmask the videos.
“The officer clearly incited that area, and we still don’t have video from all other undercover MPD,” Pope told The Epoch Times. “And as the numerous informants in the Proud Boys trial demonstrates, we are only just beginning to scratch the surface on FBI involvement.”
The undercover video—a portion of which posted on Rumble on March 24—shows three members of the MPD’s Electronic Surveillance Unit approach the Capitol’s northwest steps. One of the men, while surveying the crowd, stated, “Someone’s going to get shot.”
Officer 2 replied, “They’re not going to shoot anybody.”
Along the edge of the Capitol property, Officer 2 encouraged one protester to go up to the building. “Go join ‘em then,” he said. The man replied, “No, I’ve got my bike to guard.”
The men engaged in banter on the walk across the west Capitol lawn.
‘Never Seen Anything Like This’
“This is amazing,” Officer 2 said. Officer 1, who was shooting the GoPro video, replied, “Yeah, I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Nearly 30 members of the Electronic Surveillance Unit were assigned to duty on Jan. 6, some of whom were gathering evidence on crowd activity. Members wore special bands on their left wrists to identify themselves as part of the Electronic Surveillance Unit, according to the MPD’s 96-page Jan. 6 action plan.
Officer 1 repeatedly joined in chants of “Drain the swamp!” and “Our house! Our house! Our house!”
A little closer to the Capitol, the video captures a protester shouting, “Joe Biden! We wanna hear you speak, you [expletive] pedophile satanist [expletive]!”
A short time later, Officer 1 joined the crowd in a “USA!” chant, repeating the phrase five times.
At the foot of the northwest stairs, someone leaned part of a bicycle rack against the balustrade. As a protester climbed up the makeshift ladder, Officer 1 shouted, “C’mon, man, let’s go! Leave that sh*t.”
Officer 1 got help from a protester climbing onto the balustrade of the steps. Then, surveying the people moving up the staircase, he shouted, “C’mon, go, go, go!”
Officer 1 encouraged the crowd to move up the stairs with repeated shouts, “Keep going! Keep going!” and “Keep going, keep going, come on!”
Once Officer 1 jumped from the balustrade onto the stairs, he passed someone he knew, a man in a blue sweatshirt wearing a dark cap, protective goggles, and what appeared to be a Halloween mask.
“Tim!” the officer said, to which the unidentified man replied, “What’s going on, bro?”
Walking on a sidewalk next to the Capitol, Officer 1 hears a protester say, “Now they’re letting everybody in, there ain’t nowhere to go.”
Officer 1 replied, “I think it’s gonna…they’re going to trap everyone in.”
“This video clearly evidences undercover law enforcement officers urging the crowds to advance up the stairs and scaffolding towards the Capitol on January 6,” Pope wrote in an earlier case filing. “The government may claim that incidents like this did not happen, but the facts show they did.”
Prosecutor Moran acknowledges such in a motion filed on March 24.
“The specific footage, GoPro video recorded by an MPD police officer who was stationed at the Capitol in an evidence-gathering capacity, captures the officer shouting words to the effect of, “Go! Go! Go!” Moran wrote.
“At other times in these videos, the officer and the two other plainclothes officers with him appear to join the crowd around them in various chants, including “drain the swamp,” “U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”, and “Whose house? Our house!”
Moran also argued against unsealing large amounts of closed-circuit television (CCTV) security video, which she said could put officers at risk.
“There are very specific and highly worrisome risks associated with the specific videos the defendant seeks to share en masse,” she wrote.
“Given the highly volatile nature of the discourse surrounding these cases, releasing the identities of the officers depicted in these videos—officers the defendant now claims to have instigated the entire attack on the U.S. Capitol—would surely put the lives of those officers at risk.”
Pope told The Epoch Times that he never made such a claim. He has not yet filed a response to the government’s memorandum.
Another video Pope discovered in his research shows Officer 2 and Officer 3 walking behind the late Ashli Babbitt on the northwest steps. About an hour later, Babbitt was shot at the entry of the Speaker’s Lobby by Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd. She died a half-hour later.