According to Ayanna Pressley’s chief of staff, the panic buttons in Pressley’s office were all “torn out—the whole unit”
During last week’s siege of the Capitol where Republican terrorists violently stormed the building in an attempted coup, many members of Congress isolated in safety by hunkering down in a safe location together. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and her chief of staff, Sarah Groh, say they reached for the panic buttons in Pressley’s office at the start of the riot, but those buttons had been inexplicably torn out.
As protestors neared the building, members of Congress began to realize they may need to take shelter to protect themselves for a possible siege. Because of multiple death threats during the past two years of being in office, Pressley has become an expert at running through safety drills and threat scenarios with her staff.
According to Ayanna Pressley’s chief of staff Sarah Groh, the panic buttons in the Congresswoman’s office were all “torn out—the whole unit.”
— Eoin Higgins (@EoinHiggins_) January 13, 2021
Panic buttons were installed in her office as an added safety measure, as Pressley and other members of The Squad (consisting of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib) are on the receiving end of direct threats to their safety on a regular basis.
The Globe reports that as Congress members and staff rushed from other buildings on Capitol grounds, staff in Pressley’s office barricaded the entrance with furniture and water jugs. Groh said she pulled out gas masks and began looking for the panic buttons as a precaution.
“Every panic button in my office had been torn out — the whole unit,” she said. This means that the panic buttons in Pressley’s office were removed prior to insurgents entering the Capitol. Groh said she and Pressley and Pressley’s husband, who was visiting at the time of the riot, tried to remain calm but acknowledged that they didn’t trust all of the officers on duty at the time.
Ayanna Pressley's panic button removed the day before.
Insurrectionists given tours of the building.
Knowledge of the Capitol floor plan.
This was not a spontaneous attack. https://t.co/GpQLdOyZQh
— Jamie Ford (@JamieFord) January 13, 2021
The panic buttons were not removed during the riot. The panic buttons were, inexplicably, removed prior to the riot. Which is leading many people to wonder how much of the Capitol insurgence was an inside job?
Rep. Mikie Sherrill, a Democrat from New Jersey, shared some alarming information during a Facebook Live last night: she saw colleagues leading groups of people on what she described as “reconnaissance tours” of the Capitol building just one day before the riot.
Sherrill, a former Navy helicopter pilot, described seeing “members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 for reconnaissance for the next day.”
“I’m going to see that they’re held accountable,” Sherrill added.
According to the Washington Post, several Capitol Police officers have also been suspended and more than a dozen others are being investigated for suspected ties to rioters or for showing inappropriate support for last week’s attempted insurrection.
In an Instagram Live with over 100,000 viewers, AOC said she experienced “a pretty traumatizing event” that left her fearing for her life, thanks to Republican colleagues who support QAnon rhetoric and Trump’s racism.
“I can tell you that I had a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die,” she said. She mentioned that she couldn’t get into specifics due to safety concerns. “I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive.”
"The experiences of Wednesday were harrowing and, unfortunately, very familiar in the deepest most ancestral way … I'm fearful but that fear is not new."@AyannaPressley on #TheReidOut pic.twitter.com/tKSYEKQopG
— The ReidOut (@thereidout) January 12, 2021
After rioters began to disperse from Capitol grounds, Pressley and many of her Congressional colleagues immediately began drafting articles of impeachment against Trump for his role in inciting the violence and planned attack.
“The experiences of Wednesday were harrowing and unfortunately very familiar in the deepest and most ancestral way,” Pressley told Joy Reid on MSNBC after the harrowing experience. “And so of course I’m fearful, but that fear is not new.”