How One CCTV Camera Was Rendered Ineffective Over Two Hours on January 6

This is a screen cap from the first CCTV video successfully released by a January 6 defendant.

It shows the Tunnel as it appeared at 2:53 on January 6.

In June, accused assault defendant John Anderson’s attorney, Marina Medvin, argued that Anderson needed the video to show — and argue publicly — that, contrary to showing an older man lunge to the front of violent mob, the video instead showed a man suffering from the effects of tear gas and moving up towards a line of officers to ask for help.

The government’s evidence, instead, shows a man approaching police to seek medcial [sic] attention after being chemically prayed by a member of the crowd and after being subjected to additional chemical spray released into the crowd by law enforcement. The video sought for release, and being blocked by the government, establishes Mr. Anderson’s defense.


Furthermore, the defense should be free to utilize this highly exculpatory short video to defend Mr. Anderson just as the government uses their discretion to publicize videos and screenshots to accuse this defendant, and every other, of very serious crimes. And, Mr. Anderson should be free to utilize CCTV video publicly just as the government has utilized CCTV video publicly to benefit their position in other prosecutions. See discussion infra. The defense should not need to explain how or why we need this evidence when the exculpatory nature of the evidence is clear on its face. The subjection of this 30-second CCTV clip to a Protective Order prejudices the defendant immensely. The government’s position on preventing the release of a 30-second recording is unreasonable and fails to meet the burden that is on the government to prevent release.

The government argued against that release, describing that unnamed people were using the aftermath of the January 6 attack to gather non-public information about the interior of the Capitol to identify vulnerabilities.

The USCP’s concern with release of the footage is based on an awareness of efforts made by individuals, whether participants in the Capitol riots or not, to gather information about the interior of the U.S. Capitol which is generally not publicly available. The USCP is concerned that release of the footage without protection, especially to defendants who have already shown a desire to interfere with the democratic process, will result in the release of information regarding the vulnerabilities and security weaknesses of the U.S. Capitol which could be used in a future attack.

After weeks of litigation, Chief Judge Beryl Howell ordered that the “Highly Sensitive” designation on the video be lifted, freeing Medvin to share the video publicly.

Medvin will never use this video at trial. Anderson is one of the January 6 defendants who passed away since he was charged. Still, the release of that video marked the first step in the subsequent release of far more video of which Capitol Police had initially tried to restrict the widespread release.

This is a screen shot of a video seemingly taken from the same (or an adjacent) camera around 4:20PM on January 6.

The screen cap appeared in a filing opposing the release of James McGrew. McGrew is accused of “position[ing a] pole [handed to him by another rioter] over his head and launch[ing] the pole into the tunnel” at a line of police officers. While some substance got splattered onto the lens of the camera in the ensuing 87 minutes, the camera still proved useful in identifying participants in the hours-long struggle that it filmed.

The video was released just weeks ago, after Beryl Howell ruled against McGrew’s bail motion on November 2.

This is a screen cap from the same camera taken 32 minutes later.

The same splatters that had made the video less useful at 4:20, made the video almost useless at at 5:02PM, the moment the sun set on January 6, as artificial lights turned on, rendering the splatters more opaque.

The screen cap appears in the arrest affidavit for Josiah Kenyon, whom the FBI claims can be seen in these videos, beating cops with a table leg with nails exposed.

The affidavit reveals that the FBI first got a tip on January 9 in response to photos of Kenyon released in some of the earliest Be On the Lookout photos released. By April 6, the FBI had obtained positive ID for Kenyon based off that wanted poster from two family members of Kenyon.

And yet it wasn’t until last week that he was arrested, on charges of assault and damaging a $41,315 Capitol window that make Kenyon a good candidate for a terrorism enhancement if he is ever convicted.

The affidavit makes clear that in the eight months since the FBI first identified Kenyon, they’ve been tracking his movements and spending from when he was in DC, perhaps to see if he had any accomplices. For example, the FBI pulled Metro surveillance video showing Kenyon entering the L’Enfant Metro station at 6PM, less than an hour after he was allegedly beating cops in the Tunnel and literally the moment that Muriel Bowser’s curfew went into effect on January 6. Further Metro surveillance video shows him getting off the Metro in Franconia-Springfield at 6:48PM.

Still, it’s hard to believe the process of tracking his movements on January 6 took eight months.

What may have taken eight months, however, was the replacement of the CCTV cameras in the Tunnel. The release of this screen cap, after all, shows how over the course of several hours on January 6 the rioters made the camera — a camera surveilling the Tunnel through which Joe Biden would walk, two weeks later, to be sworn in as President — almost useless.

The release of these videos not only make clear the assaults captured by the cameras on the day of the insurrection. They also show how to render them useless.

That may be one of the reasons supporters of the insurrection are demanding all the video be released.

68 replies
  1. DaveInCo says:

    None of them thought to take out the cameras? Did no-one watch any crime shows/movies for the last 20 years?

    • emptywheel says:

      Leo Bozell IV did point the CSPAN cameras in the Senate Chamber downwards.

      Many of the other cameras were likely not as obvious.

    • timbo says:

      Someone was definitely splattering something on it. As EW eludes to in another response, this may not be all the cameras that were in place then…and almost certainly more are in place now, and likely some of those cameras are not obvious.

      • Leoghann says:

        Hopefully they’ve also moved some into less obvious or less vulnerable locations, in additions to those that were added or relocated to eliminate blind or weak spots.

  2. Dutch Louis says:

    Could the “efforts made by individuals, to gather information about the interior of the U.S. Capitol which is generally not publicly available” be part of the investigation about the conspiracy and could that be a reason for not arresting Kenyon before last week?

  3. Lawnboy says:

    I would make the point that they were substandard before the party! Perhaps the new budgets will help overhaul the system and be prepared for the 24.

    Very robust cameras can be had these days ( including wipers) . They buy some more time to record.


  4. Peterr says:

    Hmmm . . . Will DOJ amend various indictments to include the costs incurred with completely overhauling their CCTV system, made necessary by these revelations? “We had to replace not only broken windows and doors, but also a sizable chunk of our previously confidential security system . . .”

    Asking for a bureaucratic friend . . .

      • Peterr says:

        I know that the DOJ has made representations to the court as to the cost of the damage incurred by the insurrection, and being forced to up these representations would seem to be necessary. Perhaps amending indictments is the wrong language, and this is more of a motion or a new filing, but however it would be done, it strikes me as being necessary.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Is there a break point for when the damages incurred by the government ratchet up the sentence (i.e. when theft becomes grand theft)?

  5. Christopher Rocco says:

    OT, but apropos of the general January 6 investigation, I am wondering how emptywheel assesses today’s piece in Just Security, “The Absence of The Donald.” One conclusion drawn by the authors was that the FBI and DOJ were unaware of the insurrectionist chatter on the platform. That is disturbing and I wonder how plausible that conclusion is.

    • emptywheel says:

      It seems to be clear that FBI was not **then** reading The Donald.

      I’m not sure why they’re not integrating it into charging documents now. It may have to do with admissibility. Or maybe something else entirely.

    • GKJames says:

      Nunes always brings to mind the bit about, He practiced animal husbandry … until they caught him at it one day.

      • Troutwaxer says:


        Lovely to see that Devin is gone. And I think CA. Gov. Gavin Newsom gets to name his replacement.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          Unfortunately, Newsom has to call for a special election within 14 days of Nunes leaving office, with the election being held 18-20 weeks afterwards which will mean that the cow man’s seat will continue to be vacant until mid-summer. It has been pretty vacant for the last 21 years, so that’s ok.

      • punaise says:

        He’s retiring to spend more with his herd.
        He won’t agree to testify unless he gets herd immunity.
        He herd, she shed…

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I wonder if Trump’s “media empire” will be a way to skirt election, campaign funding, and tax laws, while joining them with an Apprentice-style overlordship over GOP candidates for office. It’s likely to be a geyser exploding with hot, dark money.

      I also wonder why Devin, who doesn’t need money, is abandoning the political institution his new job will be designed to undercut and overthrow.

      • punaise says:

        As Jonathan Chait puts it:

        California Republican Devin Nunes is resigning from Congress at the end of the month to serve as CEO of the Trump Media & Technology Group, where he will disseminate propaganda on behalf of the twice-impeached former president. But since this is primarily how Nunes conceived of his role in Congress, the new job amounts to more of a horizontal move than a meaningful change in careers.

        • Leoghann says:

          His SPAC was apparently behaving illegally almost from the day it was started. In typical Trump manner. In general, Trump Media Group owned the SPAC, instead of the SPAC buying TMG. And it’s a lot harder to buy a federal commission than one in NY state.

      • bmaz says:

        His district got substantially reshaped and he was unlikely to be able to win it again. Kind of a weasel to cut and run so early though.

        • punaise says:

          “Heard it from the bovine
          Not much longer would it be mine
          Oh I heard it through the grapes’ swine
          Oh I’m just about to lose my mind”

        • Spencer Dawkins says:

          I hate myself for reading the puns in the comments for this post – oh, look, there are more …

        • punaise says:

          This is your brain. This is your brain on puns…

          As the wood flooring installer said: “DARE to keep kids of da rugs.”

        • P J Evans says:

          New boundaries aren’t final for another three weeks:

          Who redraws district lines? The independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CCRC) uses the new census data to redraw the Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization district boundaries. CCRC will certify final district maps and deliver them to the Secretary of State no later than December 27, 2021. For more information on CCRC activities, see:

      • Tom Marney says:

        My barely-informed understanding is that Nunes’ district had been trending blue, and redistricting (by an independent commission, not the Democratic state legislature) would likely put it over the edge, to the point where he was considering running against an incumbent Republican in a different district.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Obama lost it by ~15, Biden by 6 so trending adversely in addition to the redistricting. However, Nunes didn’t have to leave until 2023, and with the SEC / FINRA investigations in progress he may be CEO of nothing by that time. I am surprised he gave up his Congressional immunities for private practice unless…

          1. He got his money up front, or
          2. He’s really an idiot

          I don’t see DJT agreeing to the former, and he’s certainly stiffing Nunes on the back end. No word about a GoFundMe to finance a search for Nunes’ soul.

  6. Eureka says:

    Via EW RT, New jawn over at Just Security on how DOJ appears to be blowing off content from The Donald. Worth the broader read; here I want to juxtapose one part with some prior reporting:

    The Absence of “The Donald”
    The curious omission of a notorious social media site in the FBI criminal case files on Jan. 6
    by Ryan Goodman and Justin Hendrix December 6, 2021

    Costs: Uncharged individuals who also breached the Capitol


    User 4

    User 4 said he traveled to DC by a charter bus organized by the “Berks County Patriots,” and posted a photo of passengers inside a bus with a statement, “6 buses full of Patriots coming in hot! Let’s do this!” He later posted that he was part of the “group that first stormed the building.” He reported witnessing first-hand “teams” of individuals, unlike other rioters, who were engaged in “a military op taking place inside the Capitol,” and he points others to a publicly available video of “one of the teams” that he says shows “they’re not exhibiting any excitement about being there. They’re on a mission,” and “they move toward Pelosi’s office with intent.”

    In terms of premeditation before the assault on the Capitol: On Dec, 28, 2020, in comments to an original post apparently about what supplies to bring to DC for Jan. 6, User 4 writes, “Ammo and body armor.” Two days later, User 4 writes, “We will literally drag them out of the Capitol and shove broom sticks up their a**es. Don’t f*cking push us.” He also makes multiple references to gallows and hanging named elected officials.


    Mastriano campaign spent thousands on buses ahead of insurrection – WHYY
    By Katie Meyer Miles Bryan Ryan Briggs January 12, 2021

    Berks County Patriots — a group closely tied with the official Berks County GOP — acknowledges that it did set out to sponsor a bus trip to D.C. A calendar invitation for the event is still visible on the official Berks County Republican Committee website.

    But in a statement issued after the violent incident, the group said it removed its sponsorship ahead of the event “due in part to a concern over rumors of possible violence.”

    The group says the trip was “handed over to three private citizens from Berks and Chester Counties.”

    [internal links removed from blockquotes]

    The source(s) of “rumors” that led Berks Co. Patriots/GOP to attempt CYA/extricate themselves isn’t stated, nor are the “private citizens” identified. Such foreknowledge [or ‘Oh, shit, let’s not be (seen to be) involved in a criminal conspiracy — but don’t tell the webmaster’] would seem to be of interest to investigators.

    • Eureka says:

      Also, while county residency doesn’t dictate who in the metro may have traveled via these buses which the original sponsors feared would include some violent lot, GWU to date counts one arrestee from Berks.

      That must be Alan Byerly, who is accused of violently attacking an AP photographer, among a bunch of other stuff. I don’t recall his mode of travel being mentioned.

      The sole (per GWU) Chester Co. defendant, who must be Gary Wickersham, pleaded to demonstrating. He did travel by bus, though ? whose.

      Robert Sanford, the former Chester, PA firefighter allegedly videoed chucking a fire extinguisher at, and hitting three, cops is nearby Delaware Co. He traveled by bus.

      [And then of course there’s Ryan Samsel in Berks-(and-Phila.-etc.-) adjacent Bucks Co. … whereupon I will let this list I had begun with the expectation it would be readily delimited to trail off… /don’t recall how they traveled.]

      Apparently Buffalo has no RBs? — Every time I looked up the Pats were batting away some pass to the ground.

        • Leoghann says:

          A lot of the talk in the days leading up to the event exhibited exploding bus count. PA, NC, and FL groups each boasted of half a dozen or more buses. I’m reminded of the vaunted Million Trucker March.

        • Eureka says:

          Yeah that’s why “buses” slipped out when I was meaning _their_ one (stated) bus. Too many much buses. And your reference, in turn, reminds me of general Trumper vehicular abuse, like the so-called “parades” on Election Day, reports of same disrupting prior voting days, and their TX rodeo-ing with the Biden bus and running a vehicle in the Biden party off the road… YAY, it’s so much fun here now!

          On such “fun”, did you read Barton Gellman’s latest @ The Atlantic, where he quotes Robert Pape (U Chicago) describing our terrain now as more like Northern Ireland at the start of The Troubles?

          Sobering, because it seems Pape’s right both in that assessment and that the FBI is modeling the threat incorrectly.

    • P J Evans says:

      The planners and high-up organizers may have been smart enough to not be obvious, but a lot of the lower-downs aren’t the brightest bulbs in the barrel.

      • Eureka says:

        Yes, and they’re often defiantly so — they’ll (still) proudly tell what they did and why it’s justified!

        [And there are so many; to be clear in that second comment I wasn’t trying to count all the possibly pertinent defs. but more like a midnight word-based multivariate analysis of who nearby to the rumored/ forewarned “violent” bus epicenter (quant.) might have been involved (qual.: + bus-taking or bus-mode not ruled out; violent acts +/-; etc.). There are a bunch of allegedly/it’s on video violent folk who took private cars. I’d really like so see some analysis of these bus parties…]

  7. Silly but True says:

    What does one make of the Gov’t’s latest 12/1 argument in Gieswein against introduction of arguments by defendant that Trump led the insurrection:

    “The government moves in limine to prohibit the defendant from making arguments or introducing non-relevant evidence that former President Trump gave permission for defendant to attack the U.S. Capitol… It is objectively unreasonable to conclude that President Trump could authorize citizens to interfere with the Electoral College proceedings…”

    Is this sign that DoJ is not entertaining Jan. 6 charges against Trump? Or is not ready _yet_ to entertain Jan. 6 charges against Trump; if they revisit in future, would cases which sought to Trump’s role as defense and barred from doing so be ripe for revisiting at that time?

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      It’s all there in the last sentence. They are saying Trump doesn’t have the authority to deputize civilians to interrupt the count.

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