The panic buttons in Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s office were inexplicably ‘torn out’ before last week’s Capitol Riot, sending staff into a panic as they tried to barricade themselves inside amid the protest.
Pressley’s Chief of Staff Sarah Groh has shared new disturbing details of the riot on January 6, revealing how safety protocols meant to keep lawmakers safe didn’t function properly.
Groh said the Congresswoman and her staffers were encouraged to come to the Capitol early for the joint session to certify the election results before the crowds outside got too large.
‘I was deeply concerned. It felt like the heat was being turned up in terms of the rhetoric and Trumps aims to incite violence,’ Groh said to the Boston Globe.
When protesters raided the building, Pressley’s staffers barricaded the entrance to her office with furniture and water jugs.
Groh pulled out gas masks and scanned the room for special panic buttons, only to find them missing.
‘Every panic button in my office had been torn out the whole unit,’ she recalled.
In last week’s Capitol siege Rep. Ayanna Pressley and her staffers barricaded themselves in her office and searched for panic buttons in her office but they were inexplicably ‘torn out’
They couldnt find out why they were missing. Groh said she had used them before and they hadnt switched officers since then.
Pressley’s Chief of Staff Sarah Groh said she and other staffers, along with Pressley, sheltered in her office. She said she searched for panic buttons in the office but ‘Every panic button in my office had been torn out the whole unit’
Due to multiple death threats over the past two years Pressleys office had routinely run through safety drills and threat scenarios and were familiar with the panic buttons.
The threat of the mob made Pressley fearful for several reasons.
She has alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that puts her in a high-risk category for COVID-19, which she could have contracted by sheltering with other lawmakers.
She is also part of the self-dubbed ‘Squad’ group of liberal Democratic Congress members including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar, who are heavily criticized by conservative Trump supporters.
Eventually Pressley and her staffers were escorted to several different secure locations.
Pressley was taken to a secret location where other House members were sheltering, where she and other colleagues started drafting articles of impeachment.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Groh for more details.
After the chaos Pressley opened up about the feeling of fear and panic.
‘The experiences of Wednesday were harrowing and unfortunately very familiar in the deepest and most ancestral way. And so of course Im fearful, but that fear is not new,’ Pressley said to Joy Reid on MSNBC.
A view of the mob storming the Capitol Building on January 6 to protest the certification of the presidential election above
In the violent protest Trump supporters clashed with police as lawmakers were forced to shelter inside the Capitol building
A spokesperson for Pressley said on the missing panic buttons ‘the matter has been raised with the relevant agencies and is currently under investigation’ and the ‘duress buttons’ had been previously installed throughout her office suite.
‘Our staff had used these devices before and they are regularly tested and maintained,’ a statement shared with The Hill said.
‘The safety of the Congresswoman, her family and our staff remain our top priority and at the direction of the Congresswoman, the Sergeant at Arms oversaw the installation of new duress buttons throughout the office following the attack,’ the statement added.
Squad member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted the Sergeant at Arms for not ensuring all Congress members were safe.
‘Even if one assumes this as some totally innocent oversight, how does the department responsible remove ALL the panic buttons from a highly visible members office and NOT inform that member or their staff?’ she tweeted Wednesday.
Squad member Rep. Ocasio-Cortez blasted the Sergeant at Arms for not ensuring all Congress members were safe
Fellow Massachusetts lawmakerRep. Jim McGovern also shared details of the havoc he saw unfold during the Capitol riot.
He was one of the last roughly 50 members to leave the House chamber and by that time rioters had already shattered windows in the adjacent lobby and were banging on the doors.
‘It was like looking at evil,’ he said.
‘It was a horrific day. I just assumed that the noise we were hearing outside the chamber was just a handful of people. I couldnt imagine that entire mob could gain access to the Capitol,’ he added.
He said that he feared violence could occur during the Congress session and as a precaution, ‘I told my staff to stay home.’
On Wednesday it was revealed the law enforcement had been given the names of House Republicans who allegedly helped MAGA rioters with ‘reconnaissance.’
Tim Ryan, who chairs the subcommittee which oversees Capitol Police, said that the names were given to authorities on the day of the riot, but declined to name them.
‘I’m going to wait to make sure we get verification,’ Ryan said.
He said it appeared the Republicans had shown groups around the Capitol before the riots and there were fears that the visitors had been ‘casing the joint,’ saying the groups involved ‘handfuls’ of people and were not ‘one-on-one or small family’ tours.
Representative Tim Ryan (pictured) said Wednesday that law enforcement have been given the names of some members of Congress who were seen by fellow Democratic Representative Mikie Sherrill showing groups around the Capitol in what she described as a’reconnaissance’ tour
Ryan spoke after mounting claims from Democrats accused the MAGA rioters of having assistance from inside the House. Rep. Mikie Sherrill said she witnessed GOP members giving ‘tours.’
It was also revealed thata pro-Trump activist, Ali Alexander, claimed he was assisted by three GOP representatives to help organize the January 6 assault on the Capitol.
Alexander told his followers on Periscope late last month that Republican Representatives Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona and Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama were planning something big.
Alexander helped organize one of the demonstrations that converged on the Capitol last Wednesday since then, his Facebook and Twitter accounts have been locked and he is banned from the social media platforms.
Pro-Trump activist Ali Alexander revealed in a video on Periscope that three GOP lawmakers helped in organizing the disruption of Congress certifying the election for Joe Biden on January 6
He said in a since-deleted video: ‘I want to let you guys know how we’re responding because I was the person who came up with the January 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks and then Congressman Andy Biggs.’
All three lawmakers are hard-line Trump supporters.
‘We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting so that who we couldn’t lobby, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside,’ Alexander detailed.
Of the three he named, Biggs’ office denied involvement, telling the Washington Post:‘Congressman Biggs is not aware of hearing of or meeting Mr. Alexander at any point – let alone working with him to organize some part of a planned protest.’
Gosar has made no public statement but his twitter account tagged Alexander repeatedly.
And Brooks has not addressed Alexander’s claims but issued a lengthy statement Tuesday defending his speech to the rally at the Ellipse before the mob rioted, at which he shouted: ‘Today is the day patriots start taking down names and kicking a**.’
Brooks said he was there at the request of Trump’s office and said: ‘My message is not violence, it is words,’ adding: ‘My parents raised me to be a good, self-supporting citizen and I have strived to be just that.’