FBI Warns Law Enforcement of Armed Protests, Urges Caution in Making Arrests Ahead of Biden's Inauguration

FBI Swat Member in U.S. Capitol after attack (Getty Images)
FBI Swat Member in U.S. Capitol after attack (Getty Images)

The FBI has issued multiple warnings in the wake of the attack on the U.S. Capitol and asked law enforcement across the country to be on high alert as the presidential inauguration draws closer.

In the aftermath of the insurrection at the Capitol, authorities have swiftly been moving to arrest those involved, but the FBI has warned law enforcement agencies to be careful when conducting those arrests, specifically saying to “use caution and consider the use of SWAT when affecting the arrest.” The agency added to be careful when attempting to arrest those who wore body armor during the riot.

The FBI shared an image of numerous weapons found in the home of one suspect allegedly involved in the Capitol attack who had worn body armor and a combat helmet as they stormed the U.S. Capitol, CBS News reported.

The FBI has asked law enforcement to be on high alert as they warn the public of plans of armed protesters in all 50 state capitals in the days ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. An internal FBI bulletin said that the protests may start this week, the Associated Press reported. The bulletin also called the Capitol insurrection a “significant driver of violence” for extremists and militia groups, The New York Times reported.

The agency has urged police chiefs to be on high alert for any extremist activities and to share any intelligence on threats they encounter.

“They don’t want to be dismissive of anything,” Chief Jorge Colina of the Miami Police Department, one of thousands of officials participating in the call, told The New York Times. “So even if it sounds aspirational, even if it’s just like, ‘Yeah, it’d be great if the whole place is burned down,’ they don’t want us to think, ‘Ah, that’s just some knucklehead, pinhead,’ and be dismissive.”

National Guard members who will be deployed to the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration will be armed and the number of them present may exceed 20,000, the Times reported.

It seems that authorities across the nation are heeding the calls. On Monday, armed protesters, many of whom donned Trump flags and were wearing body armor, tried to storm Oregon State’s Capitol building, but armed guards were present. 

“The recent events at our Nation’s Capitol building and at our own statehouse illustrate the need for law enforcement to be prepared and appropriately staffed for any large gatherings,” Oregon State Police Superintendent Terri Davie said in a statement.

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