Mid-South lawmakers reflect on anniversary of Capitol attack

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 8:40 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - January 6, 2021, the U.S. Capitol was attacked by a mob of then-president Donald Trump supporters as lawmakers were trying to certify the 2020 presidential election.

Thursday, one year later, President Joe Biden addressed the deadly riot.

“Those who stormed this Capitol, and those who instigated and incited, and those who called on them to do so held a dagger at the throat of America and American democracy,” said Biden.

Federal criminal charges have been filed against more than 700 people. About one-fourth of the defendants have pleaded guilty.

Nineteen people were charged in Tennessee, including Matthew Bledsoe from Memphis. The man photographed with his feet propped up on Nancy Pelosi’s desk was identified as Richard Barnett from Arkansas. Both of them have pleaded not guilty.

Congressman Steve Cohen was inside the Capitol the day of the attack. He recalls being in the gallery.

“All of a sudden, the proceedings stopped, some security people ran up to the desk to take the speaker out of the chamber, and a security person came out and said to the gallery and the floor, ‘stay calm,’” said Cohen.

Cohen remembers thinking he was going to die as he was putting on a gas mask.

Lawmakers at a more local level are also reflecting on the events of January 6, 2021.

Tennessee State Senator Raumesh Abkari shares she remembers watching in “absolute horror” and says it was like watching a horror film.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said “This day reminds us how bad things can get,” said Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris. He’s calling for “accountability for those responsible.”

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