DC Mayor Bowser Issues Order Extending Public Emergency

January 7, 2021 Updated: January 7, 2021

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Jan. 6 extended the 12-hour citywide public emergency she had declared earlier in the day, saying it will now end on Jan. 21, the day after the presidential inauguration.

“I have issued Mayor’s Order 2021-003, extending the public emergency declared earlier today for a total of 15 days, until and unless provided for by further Mayoral Order,” Bowser said in a statement on Twitter.

The public emergency order (pdf) is now expected to remain in effect until 3 p.m. of Jan. 21.

“Today, First Amendment protests turned violent. Many persons came to the District armed and for the purpose of engaging in violence and destruction and have engaged in violence and destruction. They have fired chemical irritants, bricks, bottles, and guns,” the Democratic mayor’s order states. “They have breached the security of the Capitol and their destructive and riotous behavior has the potential to spread beyond the Capitol.

“Their motivation is ongoing. Today, they sought to disrupt the Congressional proceedings relating to the acceptance of electoral college votes.”

Previously, Bowser had issued a citywide curfew amid protests and a breach and lockdown of the U.S. Capitol Building from 6 p.m. Wednesday until 6 a.m. on Thursday.

D.C. City Administrator Kevin Donahue has been granted authorization to implement measures “necessary or appropriate to protect persons and property in the District of Columbia from the conditions caused by this public emergency.”

The order enables several city leaders to apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in order to “recoup expenditures incurred, or obtain funding needed.”

“President Trump continues to fan rage and violence by contending that the Presidential election was invalid. Persons are dissatisfied with judicial rulings and the findings of State Boards of Elections, and some persons can be expected to continue their violent protests through the inauguration,” the order states.

The extensions followed acts of violence that occurred as rioters broke into the Capitol building as thousands of protesters rallied on Capitol Hill over concerns about the way the 2020 election has been handled.

Four people were killed on Capitol grounds, the Washington, D.C. Police Department confirmed, including one woman who was fatally shot, and three others who died in “medical emergencies.”

The gunshot wound victim was identified by family members as Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran from California and Trump supporter. Video footage captured the moment she was struck by a bullet and fell to the floor.

Babbitt’s husband told KUSI-TV that she did four tours of duty during her 14 years of service, and lived near San Diego.

Her mother-in-law meanwhile told Fox 5 DC that she owned a business in San Diego with her husband, and that she was puzzled by Babbitt’s behavior.

“I really don’t know why she decided to do this,” her mother-in-law told the news outlet, noting that Babbitt’s husband did not come to nation’s capital.

Protesters, many dressed in pro-Trump apparel, stormed the Capitol building at around 2:15 p.m. after breaking windows to get inside. Video footage shows some protesters tussling with police. Others showed participants carrying American and Trump flags walking through the hall connecting the two chambers of the Capitol.

It is unclear who instigated the breach of the building.

At least 14 Metropolitan Police Department officers were injured during the clash. Two officers are in hospital, one with serious injuries after being assaulted by a crowd, and another suffered significant facial injuries after they were struck by a projectile.

The breach interrupted debates in both chambers over objections to Electoral College votes from the presidential election. By 6 p.m., officials declared that the Capitol building had been secured, and Congress resumed shortly later.

The violence was condemned by Trump in a series of tweets and a video. However, his posts that had urged supporters to remain peaceful and “go home” were removed by the social media platform.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has also issued a state of emergency and imposed a 6 p.m. curfew for Alexandria and Arlington that will end at 6 a.m. on Jan. 7.