Iowan’s ‘menacing’ behavior in the Capitol illustrates how much worse the insurrection could have been

Doug Jensen follows a Capitol Police officer upstairs during the Jan. 6 insurgence. — video stills, Igor Borbic on Twitter

A short video captured inside the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6 shows perhaps the most heroic (and heroically restrained) performance by a police officer on that day, as well as the criminal trespassing of an Iowan on the halls of Congress.

The officer is Eugene Goodman of the U.S. Capitol Police, the Washington Post has confirmed. Approached by a crowd of rioters led by a man in a Q shirt, Goodman appears to flee upstairs in footage shared by Igor Bobic of the Huffington Post. But law enforcement experts say Goodman wasn’t trying to run away but to lure the mob away from the Senate chambers, where lawmakers were sheltering, and towards an area that could be better secured by armed officers. A single Black man facing a crowd of mostly white rioters carrying Confederate flags and calling officers “traitors,” Goodman also deftly manages not escalate the brewing violence.

“His judgment & heroism may have saved our Republic,” former South Carolina Senate candidate Jaime Harrison tweeted about Goodman.

The man in the Q T-shirt — who came within feet of the Senate Chamber before following Goodman up two flights of stairs, stopping at a line of officers and throwing his hands out, a moment photographed and widely shared since the insurgence — is Doug Jensen, 41, of Des Moines.

Following the riot, the FBI distributed photos and video stills of Jensen, among dozens of other alleged insurgents, asking the public to help identify them. On Friday, Jan. 8, Jensen reportedly turned himself in to authorities, and was arrested and booked in the Polk County Jail in the early morning hours of Jan. 9. He admitted to FBI and Des Moines investigators that he was the man in the images.

“Jensen stated that he intentionally positioned himself to be among the first people inside the United States Capitol because he was wearing his ‘Q’ T-shirt and he wanted to have his T-shirt seen on video so that ‘Q’ could ‘get the credit,'” FBI officers wrote in a statement of facts.

Trump supporters gesture to U.S. Capitol Police in the hallway outside of the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Washington D.C. KCCI in Des Moines later confirmed the man in the Q sweatshirt as Des Moines’ Doug Jensen. Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. — AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

QAnon is an internet-born conspiracy theory touting a spectrum of outlandish beliefs, centered on the false notion that Donald Trump is secretly saving the world from a cabal of pedophilic, cannibalistic Satanists made up of Democrats, Hollywood liberals and Jewish elites. QAnon followers hang on the every word of Q, an anonymous online poster (or posters) who claims to be a “deep state” insider. QAnon adherents are also in denial about Trump’s 2020 election loss and believe Trump will lead some kind of violent reckoning on Jan. 20.

The day Jensen was arrested, his employer, Forrest & Associate Masonry in Des Moines, announced he had been fired.

On Tuesday, a grand jury approved six federal charges against Jensen stemming from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

  • Knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority.
  • Disrupting the orderly conduct of government business.
  • Violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building.
  • Parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
  • Obstructing a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder.
  • Assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers or employees.
  • Video shows Jensen “leading a crowd of followers inside the United States Capitol” and “refus[ing] multiple orders to stop,” investigators report. The FBI also characterized Jensen’s pursuing of Officer Goodman as “menacing.”

    According to Jensen’s older brother, an Arkansas man named William Routh, Jensen initially claimed that police permitted him to enter the Capitol, and the encounter with Goodman seen in the viral video was staged.

    Jensen’s views are heavily influenced by the internet, Routh told the Associated Press, which has “confused or obscured his views on certain things.”

    Jensen’s Twitter account — still active and public as of this article’s publication — touts several conspiracy theories that would seem silly to most anyone not prescribed to the QAnon myth and/or extreme right-wing ideology, including that JFK Jr. faked his death and is living as a Trump supporter named Vincent Fusca; that LeBron James prays to Lucifer before games; that Planned Parenthood sells the beating hearts of aborted fetuses; and that racism doesn’t exist.

    Still, Routh said his brother is a “family man” and “patriot.”

    “We have been being told for the last what seven, eight months that if the Democrats get control we are losing our country,” Routh told the AP. “OK. That scares a lot of people.”

    Five people died as a result of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurgence, more than 100 people have been charged with felonies so far, and the perceived stability of America’s democratic republic was diminished both at home and abroad. But investigations into the riot and its perpetrators suggest the devastation could have been worse.

    Some in the Capitol mob aimed to “capture and assassinate elected officials,” federal prosecutors said in court documents filed late Thursday.

    Prosecutors say Jacob Chansley, a.k.a. “the QAnon shaman” — a rioter who worn face paint, horns and a coyote tail headdress, and is even more ubiquitous in photos than Jensen — wrote a threatening note to Vice President Mike Pence on his dais just minutes after Pence was ushered out of the Senate chamber by security on Jan. 6. The note said, “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”

    “Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States Government,” prosecutors wrote in a memo urging the Judge in Chansley’s case to keep the QAnon shaman behind bars. (Federal authorities have since walked back these statements, saying there’s “no direct evidence of kill and capture teams.”)

    Other rioters were photographed wearing military-style tactical gear and carrying plastic zip-tie handcuffs, with which they intended to take staff and members of Congress hostage, according to law enforcement. One was identified as retired Air Force officer Larry Rendall Brock Jr. and another — dubbed “zip-tie guy” by folks on the internet — a Nashville man named Eric Munchel. Both have been arrested and charged for their alleged actions at the Capitol.

    Zip-ties and other police-style gear have been trendy among right-wing hate groups, militia members and conservative demonstrators since President Trump took office, but zip-tie discourse escalated ahead of the Stop the Steal rally-turned-riot, the Daily Beast reported.

    Pro-Trump extremists on The Donald, a MAGA-oriented social media site, encouraged those attending the “Stop the Steal” rallies to arrest antifa members and “oath breakers”—a term for members of Congress agreeing to the vote count—and told attendees that “Flexcuffs are dirt cheap online. Put a big bundle on your belt like [law enforcement officers] do.”

    On Parler, one user wondered why the military couldn’t force members of Congress to “fulfill their oath” and “rush the police, demand they stand down, hog tie them with zip ties, takes them capital, bring in unmarked white van, blindfold the cops, strip them naked in the vans, and the take them out to the desert, and leave them all there naked, with one blanket to share??”

    Thanks in large part to capable security forces including Officer Goodman, it remains unknown what rioters including Jensen, Chansley, Brock and Munchel would have done if they’d actually come in contact with lawmakers.

    Jensen is scheduled for his next virtual hearing at 3 p.m. on Jan. 19, the day before Joe Biden’s inauguration, and will remain quarantined in the Polk County Jail until Jan. 26.

    Meanwhile, Congress is determining what consequences should be weighed against the main perpetrator of the election fraud conspiracy that incited fear and insurrection in his supporters: President Trump.

    All of Iowa’s representatives and senators have condemned last week’s events, to various degrees. Only Rep. Cindy Axne, the state’s sole Democrat in Congress, called for Trump’s impeachment and removal. Indeed, she was the only Iowa House member to vote for Trump’s impeachment Wednesday.

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