U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger has cautioned that law enforcement will not tolerate violence or "criminal behavior of any kind" during Saturday's "Justice for J6" rally, a planned protest in support of Jan. 6 defendants.
"The American public and the members of Congress have an expectation that we protect the Capitol," said Manger during a press conference on Friday. "And I'm confident with the plan we have in place that we're gonna be able to meet that expectation." The police have been working "around the clock" over the last several weeks to prepare for the Sept. 18 demonstration, and "ensure we don't have a repeat of Jan. 6," he explained.
"Our mission tomorrow ... is to protect everyone's rights to free speech and to allow them to lawfully demonstrate," Manger said, "but there have been some threats of violence."
Manger said it would be "foolish" to disregard the intelligence police have gathered, thus clarifying the reason for safety precautions — not only because of the chatter police have heard, but because now is as good a time as any to practice and improve their safety response model. "We're not taking any chances," said Manger, per Roll Call's Chris Marquette.
The police chief also mentioned that three groups might counterprotest on Saturday, two of which "haven't had much of a history of violence," but one who "has had some clashes before." He did not name the groups outright.
Manger has not heard of any elected officials who plan to attend.