United States Capitol Police (USCP) Chief Tom Manger said that participants of the “Justice for J6” rally have the right to free speech during a press conference Friday.
“Obviously, these rally-goers are coming for a very specific reason … they are arguing that the January 6 defendants are fundamentally innocent and should be released, [that] they’re political prisoners. How would you respond to the underlying purpose of this rally?” a reporter at the Friday press event asked Manger.
“You‘re not going to like my answer. Everybody has the right to free speech. They can believe what they want to believe. I am there to uphold the rule of law and make sure everybody is safe,” the USCP chief responded.
Additionally, Menger noted that the “operational plan” aimed at ensuring security of the U.S. Capitol had begun on Wednesday. He did not name any specific areas of Washington, D.C., where the forces would be deployed during the rally, adding that there was “a lot of chatter” regarding the protest’s locations.
When asked about an estimated cost of the response, Menger said that there were “a number of resources … on standby,” some of which the USCP would not use without a necessity, so he could not provide an estimate at the time. (RELATED: Capitol Police Request National Guard ‘Reaction Force’ Ahead Of ‘Justice For J6’ Rally)
Protesters at the Saturday rally plan to demonstrate in support of pro-Trump rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The USCP was extremely underprepared to handle the events that transpired on Jan. 6, with thousands of rioters breaching the Capitol building.