- The Washington Times - Friday, August 20, 2021

A rally is being planned next month near the U.S. Capitol to demand “justice” for hundreds of people accused of breaching the building on Jan. 6 in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

More than 500 people have been arrested and charged in connection with the riot, many of whom have been released while they await trial. Others, however, are still detained and some have complained of harsh treatment by staff, including allegations of abuse and excessive solitary confinement. 

Event organizer Matt Braynard, executive director of Look Ahead America, says the upcoming rally is “to raise awareness of this tragedy of this grave violation of civil rights of hundreds of our fellow Americans.” 

It is scheduled to begin at noon Sept. 18 in Union Square on the west side of the Capitol grounds. 

U.S. Capitol Police Special Events did not respond Friday to an email inquiry about a permit for the demonstration.

Mr. Braynard served as director of data and strategy for former President Trump’s 2016 campaign and started a project to “investigate illegal ballots cast in 2020,” according to the Look Ahead America website. The organization says its mission is to help “millions of rural and blue-collar patriotic Americans who are disaffected and disenfranchised from the nation’s corridors of power” by educating and registering them to vote.

In a video posted Thursday, Mr. Braynard told attendees not to bring or wear any items that are not related to the rally cause, which is about “the violation of the constitutional rights of over 500 of our fellow Americans.”

“If it’s about a candidate, or a cause, or about the election — who won, who didn’t [win], whether the election was legitimate — that’s not what this rally is about,” he said. “So please do not bring any signs, flags or clothing that express that.”

He added that “what we’re looking for is pure patriotism, it’s American flags, American clothing. I invite you to make your own homemade signs demanding justice for these political prisoners, demanding justice for Ashli Babbitt.”

Ms. Babbitt was fatally shot by a U.S. Capitol Police officer outside a door of the Capitol during the attack. The officer was exonerated for use of force on Friday, NBC News reported.

Mr. Braynard also said attendees should stay in groups “especially when leaving the event” and cooperate with law enforcement officials. 

A spokesperson for D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department told The Washington Times Friday that the agency “will be fully prepared” for the rally.

“As with all First Amendment demonstrations, MPD will be monitoring and assessing the activities and planning accordingly with our federal law enforcement partners,” the spokesperson said. 

The police also will “have an increased presence around the city where demonstrations will be taking place” and it will “be prepared to make street closures for public safety,” the spokesperson said.

The Washington Times sent requests for comment to the Capitol Police and the U.S. Park Police.

Last month, a group of House Republicans raised concerns about what they said were poor conditions in the D.C. jail where some of those charged were being held.

Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Bob Good of Virginia attempted to visit the jail, but were denied entry for failing to make an appointment, according to the facility. 

“I’m concerned for all of the people in that prison,” Ms. Greene said at a press conference last month. “Because we showed up, walked in, and then we were told that we were trespassing.”

Mr. Gohmert said the jail was hiding the conditions from the lawmakers.

“We’re not trying to interfere in any case,” Mr. Gohmert said. “But, we do want to know the conditions and whether or not there’s abuse.”

The Justice Department has denied allegations of harsh treatment.

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