A St. Joseph woman who made her way inside the U.S. Capitol building during a riot Wednesday wasn’t arrested, and the performance of the United States Capitol Police led to its chief’s resignation.
Kim Dragoo, 51, posted pictures of herself inside the Capitol Wednesday on social media. Those posts have drawn criticism on Facebook, where the platform removed some of her pictures. Dragoo defended her actions, saying by the time she made it inside, at about 4 p.m., that police were simply allowing members of the public to walk through a small section of the building.
The Capitol had been closed to allow Congress to certify the Electoral College vote for President-elect Joe Biden. In one of Dragoo’s videos, an “area closed” sign is clearly seen.
“There were police on each end, and a couple in the back, they stood there, they weren’t pushing anybody out,” Dragoo said. “A lot of people did go in and out of windows.”
A spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Investigation referred News-Press NOW to a statement that called for the public to submit any photos or videos they have of people who instigated violence during the riot to the agency.
Dragoo is not under arrest, and she was never detained. She said she and her husband, Steven, attended a rally hosted by President Donald Trump before making their way to the Capitol complex.
She said even the elderly joined a stream of people entering the building.
“There were people on walkers,” Dragoo said. “I didn’t see anything I saw on the news.”
Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), the Senate majority leader, called those who entered the Capitol building “thugs” in a floor speech. One woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol building, and at least three others died from medical emergencies.
CNN reported Thursday evening that a Capitol police officer also lost his life, though a spokesperson for the agency later said the officer was still alive.
“I didn’t see any of that,” Dragoo said. “Where I was everybody was happy. I didn’t know until getting up to the Capitol building that everybody was in there.”
Steven Sund, the U.S. Capitol Police chief, said he would resign effective Jan. 16. Gus Papathanasiou, the union leader for the department, said in a statement that officers made the decision to defend lives instead of property. Papathanasiou expressed frustration with department leadership.
“Not one member of Congress or their staff was injured. Our officers did their jobs. Our leadership did not. Our law enforcement partners that assisted us were remarkable,” Papathanasiou said.
When asked if she was in fear of being arrested during her time inside the Capitol, Dragoo said she was not. Thus far, 15 people have been charged with crimes relating to the riot.
“I wasn’t (getting arrested) and the cops were really nice to me,” she said. “I mean I talked to them and told them ‘Thank you for your service.’”