86 Minutes: Two Arrests Thwarted and Three Cops Disabled by “Bear Shit”

In the 86 minutes after the Capitol Police first asked for help from the National Guard on January 6, police had to drop two arrests of violent rioters, and three cops — including Brian Sicknick — were temporarily disabled after being sprayed with “bear shit.”

At 1:49 on January 6, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund asked the Commander of the DC National Guard, General William Walker, for urgent help pushing back the riot attacking the Capitol. According to Walker’s testimony, he loaded Guardsmen onto busses to be able to respond as soon as he got authority, but that approval was not granted and communicated to him for over three hours. Walker testified that he could have reinforced the Capitol within 15 minutes, and indeed, once DOD granted approval, according to Walker’s testimony the Guard arrived within 20 minutes (DOD says it took almost 40 minutes).

At 1:49pm I received a frantic call from then Chief of U.S. Capitol Police, Steven Sund, where he informed me that the security perimeter at the Capitol had been breached by hostile rioters. Chief Sund, his voice cracking with emotion, indicated that there was a dire emergency on Capitol Hill and requested the immediate assistance of as many Guardsmen as I could muster.

Immediately after the 1:49pm call with Chief Sund, I alerted the Army Senior Leadership of the request. The approval for Chief Sund’s request would eventually come from the Acting Secretary of Defense and be relayed to me by Army Senior Leaders at 5:08pm – 3 hours and 19 minutes later. We already had Guardsmen on buses ready to move to the Capitol. Consequently, at 5:20pm (in under 20 minutes) the District of Columbia National Guard arrived at the Capitol.

Had DOD worked the way they had in the past then, the Capitol Police might have had reinforcements from the Guard at the Capitol by around 2:10 PM.

About five minutes after the time General Walker says the Guard could have arrived, around 2:15, Hunter Ehmke allegedly started trying to punch through a window from a ledge outside the Rotunda.

Officer Fluke observed Ehmke pointing towards the window, followed by looking at the crowd to his south and waving his hand as if to summon others over to his position. Ehmke repeated the sequence of gestures again. Officer Fluke shouted out, “They’re going to break the window” during this time in hopes to bring attention from fellow officers.

An officer who saw what Ehmke was doing looked at the hundreds of rioters he was trying to repel then back towards Ehmke, only to see that Ehmke had punched the window and broken it.

Officer Fluke looked east to focus back on the crowd pushing on the shields and gave orders for the growing crowd to get back. Officer Fluke turned to look north again and observed Ehmke with a balled fist, pulling his arm back and twisting his upper body. Ehmke then swung forward striking a pane of the window about shoulder level of Ehmke. Officer Fluke began to run toward Ehmke while continuing to hold his shield in both hands.

Officer Fluke managed to knock Ehmke down and two other officers came to help arrest him. Others attempted to set up a perimeter to protect the now-broken window and create space for an arrest. But as confrontations elsewhere grew more urgent and a crowd started demanding that the cops let Ehmke go, police released him and told him not to come back.

As the officers discussed an action plan, the disturbance caused individuals of the crowd facing the Rotunda doors to divert their attention towards the approximately 10 officers in the northwest corner of the landing. Individuals in the throng began to show aggression by pointing fingers and shouting obscenities. One unidentified individual threatened Officer Fluke and the other officers, stating “you’re not leaving with him”, while pointing in the direction of Officer Fluke and Ehmke. Due to the growing aggression of the large crowd that far outnumbered the officers and the exigent circumstances at the time, officers made the decision to allow Ehmke depart under his own power.

Eight minutes after the confrontation with Ehmke began, at 2:23, Julian Khater and others were wrestling with police over a set of bike rack barriers. Khater appears to have sprayed what he had called, “bear shit” towards the cops. Three cops, including Brian Sicnick, withdrew from their position. All three took at least 20 minutes recovering from the toxic spray before they could return to the fight against the insurrectionists.

Officer Chapman’s BWC shows that at 2:23 p.m., the rioters begin pulling on a bike rack to Chapman’s left, using ropes and their hands to pull the rack away. Seconds later, KHATER is observed with his right arm up high in the air, appearing to be holding a canister in his right hand and aiming it in the officers’ direction while moving his right arm from side to side. Officer Chapman’s BWC confirms that KHATER was standing only five to eight feet away from the officers.


In reviewing the surveillance footage and BWC video, your affiant observes that Officers Sicknick, Edwards and Chapman, who are standing within a few feet of KHATER, all react, one by one, to something striking them in the face. The officers immediately retreat from the line, bring their hands to their faces and rush to find water to wash out their eyes, as described in further detail below and as captured in the following screen shots.

While Sicknick returned to his work, that spray may have contributed to his death.

About eight minutes after Khater sprayed Sicknick and two others, starting at 2:31, Mark Ponder appears on camera beating an officer’s shield with a pole. After he broke that pole, he found another more substantial one.

Moments later, shortly before 2:32 p.m. PONDER reemerges from the crowd holding another long pole. This second pole appears to be thicker than the first pole and is colored with red, white, and blue stripes.

17 minutes after Ponder first grabbed the pole, at 2:49, he started swinging it more aggressively at individual cops, striking one.

As PONDER swings the pole in the direction of the officers, he struck Officer #3 once in the left shoulder.

Officer 3 and others tackled Ponder and started moving to arrest him. They found his ID at 3:03, but Ponder apparently lied about where he currently lived. By 3:15 — 86 minutes after Sund first requested assistance — the officers learn there’s no transport available to complete the arrest of Ponder at that time. So, as happened with Ehmke less than an hour earlier, the cops let him go, instructing him not to come back.

Ponder remained at the riot for almost two more hours.

At 4:32, according to DOD’s timeline, Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller approved a deployment of the Guard to help at the Capitol. General Walker didn’t receive that order for another 30 minutes. Sometime between 5:20 (per Walker) and 5:40 (per DOD), the Guard arrived at the Capitol and started to help.

That is, in the first 86 minutes of the three hour period between when Sund asked for help and the Guard showed up, police moved to arrest two violent insurrectionists, only to be forced to let them go, and (as NYT had noted in a story some time ago), Brian Sicknick was sprayed with a toxic substance that may have led to his death.

It took 70 days for the FBI to track Ponder down after he was first released, and almost as long — 67 days — to arrest Julian Khater (likely delaying efforts to identify of the substance used against Sicknick in the process). Part of that delay must be attributed to the three hours it took DOD to provide relief to the Capitol Police.

37 replies
  1. Geoff says:

    When does Kash Patel show up under oath in front of Congress? Can’t for the life of me figure out how that wiggly worm is still evading any scrutiny.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Kash Patel has a surprising amount of juice, all of it derivative. That is, his patrons have the juice and they use it freely to promote and protect him. Calling him mediocre would be an insult to the truly mediocre, but someone thinks he’s an awfully good gofer. We need to hear about them, too, because Patel may be out of office, but he’ll be back, if the GOP take control of either House, Senate, or White House.

  2. Ginevra diBenci says:

    EHMKE (Hunter Ehmke, 20) made it all the way back to Glendora in southern California before he was arrested–having dinner with his family–on January 13. Although he was scheduled for arraignment in DC, I can find no trace of him after mid-January, aside from a name-check in a Times roundup story last month. Anyone know more?

      • bmaz says:

        So “was” arraigned (and all of it) in DC huh? Did he travel to DC on his own, or done via video? Docket not clear on that.

        • blueedredcounty says:

          The Feb 1, 2021 entry is the only one that seems to indicate this was all done by video:
          “Set/Reset Hearings as to HUNTER ALLEN EHMKE: Arraignment set for 2/10/2021 at 10:30 AM in Telephonic/VTC before Judge Tanya S. Chutkan. (tb)”

          I read the following docket notes as indicating he has been on release in CA with an ankle bracelet and can’t leave CA without notice and approval from the court.

          – Jan 21, 2021 – ORDER Setting Conditions of Bond : Defendant HUNTER ALLEN EHMKE placed on Personal Recognizance Bond with Global Positioning System Monitoring

          – Feb 17, 2021 – “Defendant must continue to comply with courtesy supervision through the Central District of California Pretrial Services Agency.” AND “Travel outside CDCA must be approved by CDCA and any and all travel outside the State of California must be approved by the court.”

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            Thanks for pointing me in constructive (not Google) directions. Why does Ehmke, who is charged with Obstruction of a Government Proceeding (in addition to trespassing and property destruction), get to hang out in California with merely an ankle monitor?
            Also, he was told to depart. Did he?

  3. BobCon says:

    I don’t know what is in this spray used against Capitol Police, but it’s not anything a backpacker would carry in Yellowstone.


    I’m reminded of the thumb drive taken from Dominick Pezzola which EW’s earlier post noted “a significant number of those .pdfs provide detailed instructions for making homemade firearms, poisons, and/or explosives.”


    It will be interesting to see if those files (or files seizes from another person) contain instructions for making a device like this, or mixing chemicals found in a device used on 1/6, and whether investigators can draw connections to anything in blood samples or materials found in suspects garages, or anything along those lines.

    • bmaz says:

      “I don’t know what is in this spray used against Capitol Police”. That is absolutely as far as I’d go.

      • Frank Probst says:

        I’d go a bit further. This part of the post jumped out at me: “While Sicknick returned to his work, that spray may have contributed to his death.” So it sounds like he was able to recover enough to return to the front line. That nugget is new to me. Again, it’s hard to draw conclusions without reading the autopsy report, but whatever he was hit with, it wasn’t enough to totally incapacitate him. That may just be because he was wearing protective gear, but a defense lawyer is going to latch onto that fact, I think. It could be why prosecutors are being extra cautious about charging anyone with murder at this point.

        Was he initially wearing a helmet, but then returned to the front line without one? We should know that much, at least. Prosecutors will know a hell of a lot more, because they likely have video (body cam footage from DCPD, and video from security cameras inside the Capitol, for instance), that we haven’t seen yet.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, yeah, that goes back to what I said earlier (I think on a previous post), there may well be a problem in establishing the causal link to death. And we just do not know, and may not really know for a good long time.

  4. harpie says:

    1:49 PM SUND requests URGENT aid from WALKER
    2:15 PM EHMKE starts trying to punch through a window from a ledge outside the Rotunda.

    […] Due to the growing aggression of the large crowd that far outnumbered the officers and the exigent circumstances at the time, officers made the decision to allow Ehmke depart

    2:20 PM Members of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate, including the President of the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence, were instructed to—and did—evacuate the chambers.
    2:20 PM [Approx.] Hunter Walker [Yahoo], with marchers on Pennsylvania Avenue.
    11:08 AM · Feb 7, 2021

    I was streaming live from this march before my video went black. The crowd ended up blocking the Homeland Security officers who were heading into the Capitol. The DHS cars ultimately turned around. [embedded video][SIRENS THROUGHOUT][link]

    [wrt: timing, from video transcript]: [Walker]: Congress has just called a recess and interrupted the electoral vote count, due to security alerts, a lockdown. […]

    2:23 PM rioters begin pulling on a bike rack
    KHATER is observed spraying a substance towards officers who are 5-8 feet away
    2:31 PM PONDER appears on camera beating an officer’s shield with a pole
    2:49 PM PONDER starts swinging more aggressively at individual cops, striking one
    3:15 PM Officers learn there’s no transport available to complete the arrest of PONDER at that time. Since they are needed elsewhere, they decide to allow PONDER to depart
    4:32 PM MILLER approves deployment of NG to CAPITOL
    5:08 PM WALKER receives approval from MILLER
    WALKER deploys NG
    5:30 PM [At or about] NG arrive at the CAPITOL

  5. DrFunguy says:

    Another arrest and today.
    Sure glad most of these criminal seditionists fail at opsec.
    “After authorities released pictures of McKellop without the helmet and gas mask in February, two veterans (Witnesses 1 and 2) contacted the FBI to identify him, saying they served with him overseas.
    “Witness 2 added the ‘kit,’ specifically the helmet and ballistic vest worn by MCKELLOP in the BOLO photographs was the same gear Witness 1 saw MCKELLOP wearing in an overseas combat zone in 2018,” the criminal complaint stated.”

  6. harpie says:


    Interesting about the new PROUD BOY superseding indictment:
    There may be a nexus with OATHKEEPERS.

    [p14] 64. Thirty minutes after first entering the Capitol on the west side, BIGGS and two other members of the Proud Boys, among others, forcibly re-entered the Capitol through the Columbus Doors on the east side of the Capitol, pushing past at least one law enforcement officer and entering the Capitol directly in front of a group of individuals affiliated with the Oath Keepers.

  7. harpie says:

    1:38 PM Stewart RHODES writes on OATH KEEPER Signal chat “DC OP: Jan 6 21” [B]:

    All I see Trump doing is complaining. I see no intent by him to do anything. So the patriots are taking it into their own hands. They’ve had enough.

    2:13 PM PROUD BOY Dominic PEZZOLA breaks the first window on the NORTHWEST side of the Capitol; insurrectionists enter and open adjacent door. [A]
    2:14 PM BIGGS and other PROUD BOYS enter the Capitol building through the adjacent door on the NORTHWEST side by 2:15 PM. [A]
    2:14 PM OATH KEEPER who leads the coordination of the OK security details writes: “The[y] have taken ground at the capital[.] We need to REGROUP any members who are not on mission.”
    RHODES then reposts that message and instructs the group: “Come to South Side of Capitol on steps”; sends a photo of the SOUTHEAST side of the Capitol. [B]
    2:19 PM PROUDBOY “Boots on the Ground” channel member posts: “We just stormed the capitol.” [A]
    Between 2:19 PM and 2:44 PM PROUD BOY BIGGS exits the Capitol on the EAST side. BIGGS and several PROUD BOYS pose for a photo at the top of the steps. [A]
    2:41 PM RHODES posts another photograph showing the SOUTHEAST side of the Capitol with the caption: “South side of US Capitol. Patriots pounding on doors[.]” [B]
    2:44 PM BIGGS with other PROUD BOYS and OTHERS forcibly re-enter the Capitol through the Columbus Doors on the EAST and enter the Capitol directly in front of a group [“stack”] of individuals affiliated with the OATH KEEPERS. [A]
    OATH KEEPER “stack” forcibly enters the Capitol through the Rotunda door in the CENTER of the EAST side of the building. [B]
    2:48 PM OATH KEEPER CALDWELL, on the WEST side of the Capitol, writes to his Facebook contacts: “We are surging forward. Doors breached.” [B]
    3:38 PM “as some rioters were leaving the Capitol”, PROUD BOY DONOHOE announces on the PROUD BOY “Boots on the Ground” channel “[W]e are REGROUPING with a second force.” [A]
    4:00 PM “as many rioters were exiting the Capitol”—a large group of OATH KEEPERS gather around RHODES on the EAST side of the Capitol, and stand around waiting for at least ten minutes [B]

    A] PROUD BOYS First Superseding Indictment https://extremism.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs2191/f/Nordean%20Biggs%20Rehl%20Donohoe%20First%20Superseding%20Indictment.pdf

    B] U.S. v Thomas Caldwell government memo opposing release https://www.washingtonpost.com/context/u-s-v-thomas-caldwell-government-memo-opposing-release/97b39a1e-ee85-417c-831a-2bb036b35b5a/

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