Kaylee Greenlee, DCNF
- “Justice for J6” rally organizer Matt Braynard said the group was in constant contact with several law enforcement agencies in Washington, D.C., leading up to the event.
- “We communicated with them on a near-daily basis for two months and ahead of this, to make sure it all went smoothly, they were very responsive to everything,” Braynard told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “And for the most part, I think they did a phenomenal job in helping us coordinate and have a safe and successful event.”
- Braynard added that the event was a success before it even happened because of the media attention the group received leading up to the rally.
The organization behind the “Justice for J6” rally in Washington Sept. 18 was in constant contact with multiple law enforcement agencies ahead of the event, Look Ahead America Executive Director Matt Braynard told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Event organizers were in constant contact with the U.S. Capitol Police, the National Park Police and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) for two months before the event, Braynard told the DCNF. Braynard said the organizers “knew that nothing was going to happen” at the rally and that the law enforcement response was “a little overkill.”
“We communicated with them on a near-daily basis for two months and ahead of this, to make sure it all went smoothly, they were very responsive to everything,” Braynard said. “And for the most part, I think they did a phenomenal job in helping us coordinate and have a safe and successful event.”
“I know there were federal agents at the rally, they were surrounding us in all directions,” Braynard added. “They were expected to be there. I knew they were gonna be there. We coordinated with them [federal law enforcement officials], we told them everything we were doing.”
Braynard said the event was a success before it even happened because of all the media attention, so he wasn’t concerned about the physical turnout. The organization bused in a couple of hundred attendees, the event’s live stream had between 35,000 and 50,000 viewers and private security who worked at the event said between 400 and 500 people, including journalists, attended the rally in person.
The Capitol Police Department estimated between 450 and 500 people, including media, attended the rally on Saturday, WUSA 9 reported.
“Our team worked with them [law enforcement officials] on a daily basis and everything, you know, good planning, led to a smooth execution of the rally,” Braynard told the DCNF. “Every day we cooperated and the final approval actually for these types of events, believe it or not, does not happen until the morning of because they need to inspect everything. But like I said, they at no point were interested in deterring us at all, from what I could tell.”
Officials with the Capitol Police proofread press releases for Look Ahead America leading up to the rally and were notified of every piece of equipment the group planned on using, according to Braynard. The MPD requires a permit for events and for organizers to obtain insurance and first aid kits, Braynard said.
“None of our people were arrested,” Braynard told the DCNF. He added that he was never concerned about attendees showing up armed and that the accusation was “a political decision to suppress turnout.”
Braynard said the rally wasn’t a “big elaborate scheme by the federal government to entrap people and arrest them” as some people suggested. People posted to online extremist groups the event was a set up for those involved in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 and dissuaded people from attending, NBC News reported.
“I just wanted to say to anybody that was deterred from attending this or thought that this was some kind of honey trap or false flag attack, remember the names of the people who told you that and never trust them again,” Braynard told the DCNF.
Look Ahead America hosted two other events in Washington at the Department of Justice and at the D.C. jail that received substantially less media attention, according to Braynard.
The Capitol Police did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment and the MPD declined to discuss law enforcement operations.
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