CHICAGO (CBS) – On this first anniversary of the U.S. Capitol uprising, hundreds of people face charges – and more are expected – and some continue to worry about what the riot could mean as a bodes well for the future of democracy.
As reported by CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar, rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon – climbing the steps, beating Capitol Hill police officers and eventually making their way to the interior
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As the chaos dissipated and the insurgency ended, at least 12 people in the Chicagoland area were charged and have cases pending. CBS 2’s De Mar spoke with two of them as they drove home.
One of them was Brad Rukstales from Inverness, who had been the CEO of Schaumburg-based tech company Cogensia. He was fired by the company the same day he was charged with federal charges for his role in the riot.
“I had nothing to do with charging anyone or anything or doing anything,” he said. “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I regret my role in that.”
As Capitol Police retreated down a staircase that day, federal prosecutors said chairs were falling behind them. Rukstales is accused of having thrown one of these chairs. He pleaded guilty to charges in August.
Rukstales is the only Illinois resident to have received a jail term for his role in the riot so far. sentenced to 30 days and ordered to pay $ 500 in restitution.
He reported to a Michigan federal prison on February 1.
Dr. Mar also spoke with David Fitzgerald of Roselle, who was arrested for violating the curfew and trespassing on federal property.
“Unfortunately, I was arrested,” Fitzgerald said two days later. “Alright, yeah. Guilty of violating the curfew. OKAY. I’m a sinner, you know.
Fitzgerald said he did not enter the Capitol, but was a few hundred yards from the violent chaos.
“We could see the Capitol,” he said. “And we’re like, ‘Are people climbing? And they were. I know what happened. I saw people in there. It’s not good. We even heard that people died, and what am I like?
But he said he had no regrets.
“What would I regret? ” he said.
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A year after the riot, De Mar spoke with US Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois).
“I think we have to remember the fragility of our democracy, Charlie,” Krishnamoorthi said. “I was evacuated twice after Capitol Hill police discovered a bomb 200 feet from my office window.”
Krishnamoorthi said he was concerned that the sentences handed down to those charged were light and that too few people were held accountable for their roles on January 6, 2021.
“When people don’t feel the consequences of their actions, they feel like they can do it again – and so I worry about that,” he said.
CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra also spoke with U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois) about her memories of that day a year ago.
“I was doing a radio interview. At that point it hit me, and that’s kind of the prospect now – I said, what does that tell the rest of the world that I’m sitting here waiting for the National Guard so I can come back and vote on a peaceful transfer of Power? “Quigley said.” As I walked back into Statuary Hall all the statues were powder coated and someone said, ‘Don’t touch your face!’ and that’s because that powder was what happens to tear gas when it settles.
Quigley walked to the President’s lobby, where he saw the aftermath of an incident in which a policeman shot dead Ashli Babbitt, 35, as she tried to pass through a broken window.
“When the glass broke and you could hear the tear gas canisters and doors hammered, at the most intense moment, I remember hearing a colleague of mine say, ‘So when does the efficient cavalry come? ? “It never happened,” Quigley said. “And there are a lot of problems with the fact that the cavalry never came.”
Despite the horrors of the day, Quigley said members of Congress cannot live in fear and the work of government must continue.
“The polarization has always been there. The president spilled gasoline on this fire – President Trump – during his election and during his four years as president. He was harboring an anger that was there. I think he’s fueled a dark side of this country that still exists, and I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to reach those who are so far away that they think it’s okay to do what’s right. passed Jan. 6, ”Quigley said. “But we have to try. There must be healing efforts. There must be attempts to build coalitions that do good things. “
Meanwhile, DePaul University professor and terrorism analyst Tom Mockaitis told De Mar, without confidence in our election, that the consequences of January 6 could linger for years and should be of concern to voters.
“The basic thing that makes democracy possible has been undermined,” Mockaitis said. “I think they should be very worried, I think, but I don’t think they should be inactive either.”
Chicago Police Officer Karol Chwiesiuk was also charged in the riot after photos of him surfaced wearing a CPD sweatshirt inside the Capitol. He has been on leave since August and is unpaid. His case is still pending.
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Also Thursday night, Chicago activists gathered in Federal Plaza, calling for action to prevent another January 6. At the Democracy Rally, speakers urged Congress to pass voting rights legislation to protect the will of the people in future elections.