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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Some January 6 rioters may use police brutality as protection

Most of the defendants contemplating claims of self-defense were involved in brutal hand-to-hand combat on the Capitol’s Lower West Terrace, where the January 6 fighting was worse than anywhere else and often resembled a kind of medieval war. For nearly three hours, the officers fought the rioters in hand-to-hand combat, some of them armed with flagpoles, hockey sticks, bear aerosols and clubs.

The first to say he would be running a self-defense case was Edward Jacob Lange, a New York City social media influencer who named himself. He was charged with seven counts of assaulting officers, some of whom used a riot shield and others a baseball bat.

In court documents filed by his lawyer Stephen Metcalfe, Mr. Lang said he only became violent after seeing police attack several women in the crowd, including Roseanne Boyland, a Trump supporter who eventually died. Mr. Lang claimed that he had tried unsuccessfully to save Ms. Boyland and also said that he dragged another protester, Philip Anderson, to safety after being sprayed with an unknown orange gas by police, which stopped his breathing.

“The police pushed people heartlessly against each other, creating the effect of a heap of dogs,” Mr. Lang said in a short interview from a prison in Washington this month, “and people ended up dying.”

A few weeks ago, Ryan Nichols, a former Marine from Texas, also claimed to have acted in self-defense and to protect others when he attacked the police. In his own court documents, Mr. Nichols described a horrifying scene inside a tunnel on the Lower West Terrace, where tear gas filled the air and screaming rioters were crushed.

Newspapers describe a video of an officer in a white shirt in a crowd outside Mr. Nichols beating one man with his folding truncheon and then turning his attention to a middle-aged woman wearing a MAGA hat to “crush her,” as Mr. Nichols’s lawyer wrote. Joseph McBride. Over the course of four or five minutes, according to the video description, an officer in a white shirt appears to hit the woman several times until blood spills from her face and she faints.

The government last week denied Mr. Nichols’s allegations, saying other video evidence showed that he was not with the officer in the white shirt and thus could not observe – or be provoked – any attack on the woman in question. … Prosecutors argued that Mr. Nichols’ attempt to “present himself as a hero who simply resisted officers” terrorizing “the civilian population” was absurd.

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