WASHINGTON ― The U.S. Capitol Police are investigating two incidents related to the new metal detectors set up outside the House chamber: one involving a member of Congress potentially assaulting a police officer and the other involving a lawmaker trying to bring a gun onto the House floor.
HuffPost personally observed and publicly reported on both incidents over the last month, and Capitol Police called this reporter in on Wednesday for an interview about both altercations.
On Jan. 12, the night of the first votes after the U.S. Capitol insurrection and the decision to put magnetometers outside the House chamber, HuffPost observed Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) roughly push his way past an officer who was operating the metal detectors. The best way to describe what Fulcher did was he “manhandled” the officer, a Black woman who was significantly smaller than the congressman.
Fulcher set off the magnetometer that night, and the officer inadvertently seemed to get in his way as he tried to rush past her. But what started as one of those dances you do with someone when you both zig and zag as you try to get around each other, ended as a physical interaction. Fulcher grabbed the officer with both hands and pushed past her roughly.
Fulcher did not appear to be trying to injure the officer, but the incident was nonetheless jarring and out of the ordinary.
That night, HuffPost tried to ask the officer some questions about the skirmish, but she didn’t want to talk to the press. We did, however, observe that she appeared to be shaken from the interaction.
Police told HuffPost they were investigating the matter.
Capitol Police were also investigating an incident that occurred on Jan. 21, when Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) tried to bring a gun onto the House floor. HuffPost also observed and publicly reported on that incident and was a material witness to Harris trying to get another member who had just left the floor to hold his gun for him while Harris voted.
Harris went through the magnetometer that day, set off the machine and then complied with a search with a metal detector wand. The police officer conducting the search located a gun on Harris’s side and had a hushed conversation with the congressman. Harris quickly turned back to the elevators, stood around for a moment in a small vestibule outside of the elevator banks and had another quiet conversation with a member. Harris’s comments were not audible, but HuffPost heard Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) reply, “I don’t have a license for that.”
A Capitol official later confirmed that Harris was carrying a gun.
HuffPost never saw the gun. On Wednesday, the police seemed to be interested in the fact that Harris’s gun was concealed, based on the line of their questioning. Members are allowed to carry firearms on the Capitol campus but are not allowed to carry them onto the House floor, and the District of Columbia requires a special permit for the concealed carrying of firearms.
The two detectives told HuffPost that no charges had been filed in either case but both were active investigations.
HuffPost has reached to both Fulcher’s and Harris’s office for comment.
HuffPost did not file a police report after either incident, and our account is not the basis of either investigation.