The picture from the US Capitol riot on January 6, 2021 has been kicking across the web for a yr and a half. The centerpiece is anti-vaccine activist Simone Gold, founding father of America’s Frontline Medical doctors, a gaggle that has spent the previous two years spreading misinformation about Covid. She’s with John Strand, a global underwear mannequin and the spokesman for the medical doctors’ group. They’re positioned on the entrance of an offended mob that has simply damaged down the door to the Rotunda, the place a US Capitol Police officer makes an attempt to carry them off. A hand reaches up and grabs the officer by the collar and pulls him to the bottom. Gold and Strand push previous and swarm into the Capitol with the remainder of the rioters.
As the gang started to pressure their approach into the Capitol constructing, Dr. Simone Gold and John Strand have been a part of the gang that violently pushed/pulled an officer down the steps.
— 𝚃𝚘𝚡𝚒𝚌 𝚆𝚘𝚘𝚍𝚎𝚗 𝚆𝚘𝚖𝚊𝚗🌙 (@Autre_Vierge) January 12, 2021
The picture was putting for a lot of causes, however particularly as a result of Gold, a board-certified emergency room doctor and a Stanford-educated lawyer, did nothing to help the fallen officer. Others within the mob finally assist him to his ft, however solely after he had misplaced consciousness. For the reason that incident, Officer Joshua Pollitt has largely remained nameless, however on Wednesday, he appeared in US District Court docket for the District of Columbia to testify in Strand’s trial on prison fees associated to the storming of the Capitol.
His emotional testimony was harrowing, as was the total video footage of the episode performed for the jury. In the course of the riot, Pollitt was with a gaggle of officers guarding the East Capitol rotunda door, which is never open to the general public. On the stand, he described how a rioter maced him within the eye through the confrontation, the place he and his colleagues have been violently outnumbered. Jurors watched the video during which rioters chanted “Stand down, allow us to in,” whereas Pollitt tried to carry the doorways closed. At one level, smoke seems and Pollitt defined that officers had deployed a flash bang to attempt to repel the offended mob; it had little impact.
Gold and Strand have been on the entrance of that offended mob, which pushed Pollitt towards the door, pinning his palms at his sides. “I used to be crushed towards the doorway,” he mentioned, explaining that he misplaced consciousness and went down. “I used to be terrified that one of many rioters was going to get my gun and apply it to certainly one of my fellow officers.”
Since their arrest lower than two weeks after the riot, Gold and Strand have tried to border themselves as free speech warriors, claiming that they have been merely participating in peaceable protest once they entered the Capitol on January 6. However what the fallen Capitol police officer described was something however peaceable, and the video footage backed him up. Prosecutors identified the presence of males in Kevlar tactical gear with military-grade gasoline masks. “In your expertise, do individuals normally put on Kevlar to the Capitol?” prosecutor Jason Manning requested US Capitol Police Sergeant Nelson Vargas throughout his testimony. “It’s not allowed,” he replied.
Within the face of overwhelming documentary proof of her participation within the riot, to not point out her acknowledgment to the Washington Submit shortly after the occasion that she’d been contained in the constructing, Gold rapidly pleaded responsible to a single misdemeanor cost of unlawfully coming into and remaining in a restricted space of the US Capitol. In June, she was sentenced to 60 days in jail. Earlier this month, she was launched early with break day for good habits. When she emerged from the jail gate, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) introduced her with an American flag that had hung over the Capitol constructing she had helped to sack.
Strand rejected the identical plea cut price and opted to go to trial, which began this week earlier than Decide Christopher Cooper, certainly one of Gold’s Stanford classmates. Strand has embraced his standing as a minor insurrectionist movie star in conservative non secular circles. On Sept. 12, he gave an interview on YouTube to Brandon Straka, founding father of the conservative Stroll Away marketing campaign. Strand blabbed extensively about what he did on the Capitol (and requested for donations) in a approach that ought to make his lawyer cringe. Straka was additionally prosecuted, although he by no means entered the constructing. He pleaded responsible to a single misdemeanor cost for disorderly conduct and didn’t obtain jail time due to the help he supplied the federal government in its investigation. (Prosecutors by accident launched his cooperation settlement outlining all of the individuals he’d snitched on to get a lesser sentence—together with Gold.)
Strand is the primary insurrectionist “influencer” to go on trial, and is arguably essentially the most modern and impeccably groomed January 6 defendant. His signature undercut coiffure, with the highest fastidiously gelled right into a rooster’s comb, leather-based jacket, and aviator sun shades made him stand out within the crowd of outdated bearded white males, different MAGA maniacs, the QAnon Shaman, and the cammo-garbed militia sorts. That’s one cause why it’s really easy to see him on the movies, and one cause, a police officer testified, that folks remembered him. On Wednesday, he wore a thin plaid swimsuit over a purple shirt, with loafers and no socks to courtroom, and has refused to put on a masks as required. As an alternative, he’s taking a each day Covid take a look at and offering the outcomes to the courtroom. Legal professionals have continued to argue earlier than Cooper as as to whether Strand can name Gold as a witness and what she may say. She was not within the courtroom Wednesday, although her grownup son Jonah Gold was one of some individuals there apparently giving Strand ethical assist.
Strand’s lawyer introduced little in the way in which of protection throughout cross-examination, whereas the federal government placed on hours and hours of video footage documenting his presence among the many January 6 rioters. Right here’s Strand with Gold, standing in entrance of a Accomplice flag on the Rotunda door, whereas their fellow protesters use Trump flag poles like battering rams to interrupt the glass. Right here he’s once more, deep contained in the Capitol in a cloud of fireplace extinguisher haze unfold by an offended mob making an attempt to interrupt down the door to the Home chamber. And right here’s Strand filming Gold delivering a speech in Statuary Corridor concerning the lack of presidency transparency within the election. In the meantime, officers who’d spent the previous two hours battling rioters and getting pepper sprayed and assaulted have been making an attempt to clear the remaining rioters from the constructing as Gold drew a crowd.
Right here is Dr. Simone Gold giving an impromptu speech contained in the constructing on the #DCRIOTS
Her associate, John Strand, stands again and movies the erratic show.
“(unintelligible) educated legal professional! I’m a mother!”
— 𝚃𝚘𝚡𝚒𝚌 𝚆𝚘𝚘𝚍𝚎𝚗 𝚆𝚘𝚖𝚊𝚗🌙 (@Autre_Vierge) January 10, 2021
By going to trial, Strand faces far stiffer punishment than he would have obtained if he’d taken the federal government’s provide and pleaded responsible to a single misdemeanor as Gold did. As an alternative, Strand is now on trial for 5 separate prison fees and has mentioned he might face a quarter-century of jail time if convicted on all counts. He’s anticipated to testify Thursday in his personal protection, the place he’ll argue that he was merely within the Capitol offering safety for Gold. His lawyer has mentioned his protection will rely totally on character witnesses. Closing arguments are anticipated on Friday when the case will likely be given to the jury for deliberations.