Rioter who followed Capitol Police Officer Goodman away from Senate chamber released to home confinement

Rioter who followed Capitol Police Officer Goodman away from Senate chamber released to home confinement

A US Capitol insurrection defendant who chased a Black police officer up a staircase and away from government officials in the Senate, is being released from jail to home incarceration after a judge found there wasn’t enough evidence to show he was still a serious threat to public safety.

Douglas Jensen of Des Moines, Iowa, was captured on video following US Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman up the stairs inside the Capitol, with a crowd following him.

Goodman led the mob away from the Senate Chamber in a tense moment minutes before officials, including then-Vice President Mike Pence, were evacuated out of the chamber to safety.

In court papers, the Justice Department pointed to several videos of Jensen apparently at the front of the crowd of protesters, both inside and outside the building.

“Storm the White House, that’s what we do!” and “This is me, touching the f***ing White House. This is why we’re here, at the White House, just so you know,” prosecutors say Jensen said on videos taken during the siege. Prosecutors note this showed “intention of causing mayhem,” according to court papers. (Jensen was standing in front of the Capitol building, and not the White House.)

But at a court hearing on Tuesday in Washington, DC, federal Judge Timothy Kelly weighed whether Jensen could still be a danger to the public if he were released from jail as he awaits trial.

Kelly considered how much planning Jensen — who wore a QAnon shirt — may have done for the attack on the Capitol, and if he had taken a meaningful leadership role. Kelly noted Jensen didn’t appear to have planned to take part in the insurrection, because “he had no basic understanding of where he even was that day.”

The judge decided there wasn’t a strong indication of leadership, either, among other considerations, and decided to release Jensen from jail to a strict 24-hour lockdown at home. He’s barred from using the internet and will wear a GPS monitor, according to the judge’s orders.

Judges have weighed for months how to handle criminally charged rioters, and they’ve been told by an appeals court in recent weeks to weigh the actions of each defendant, and their engagement in planning, extremist groups and police assaults during the siege carefully. The standard is high for detention, and Kelly looked at the various facts of Jensen’s case so far, which also included an allegation that he carried a pocketknife, as well as his interaction with Goodman, who, along with other officers, was later awarded a Congressional Gold Medal for his actions during the riot.

“My decision does not indicate that I don’t think Jensen’s conduct was very serious or that the events that occurred on January 6 were very serious,” Kelly said. There is no indication that “he is able to plan another January 6-like event,” the judge added.

Jensen captured himself on his own cell phone yelling about the White House while standing outside the Capitol, according to court records and videos released by the Justice Department on Monday that had been used in Jensen’s court proceedings.

Previously, Kelly kept Jensen in jail, partly because the judge believed his “interest in revolution” hadn’t subsided. But Jensen asked the court in June to reconsider. He has been in jail since his arrest in Iowa on January 8, according to court records.

Jensen is under indictment for seven charges, including obstruction of an official proceeding, assaulting or impeding an officer, and entering the building with a dangerous weapon. He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors also allege Jensen carried a pocketknife into the Capitol.

The judge noted Jensen didn’t damage property, and while he confronted the police, didn’t clearly fight with them. The pocketknife, the judge noted, was one Jensen regularly carried in his pocket for work.

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