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
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 fuction properly.
Groh said the Congresswoman and her staffers were encouraged to come to the Capitol early for the joint session 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 Trump’s 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 couldn’t find out why they were missing. Groh said she had used them before and they hadn’t 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 Pressley’s office had routinely ran through safety drills and threat scenarios and were familiar with the panic buttons.
The threat of the Trump-inspired 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 and passing the crowds.
She is also part of the self-dubbed ‘Squad’ group of Democratic Congress members including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar.
Eventually Pressley and her staffers were escorted to several different secure locations.
In the end 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 I’m fearful, but that fear is not new,’ Pressley said to Joy Reid on MSNBC.
A view of the Trump-inspired 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.
Fellow Massachusetts lawmaker Rep. 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 couldn’t 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.’