New closed circuit video footage (above) obtained by HuffPost shows a California man storming through the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as he records himself and others shouting chants at Capitol police officers along the way into one of the most iconic areas of the building.
Jeffrey Alexander Smith, who was sentenced on March 15 to 90 days in prison, was heard on his own recording shouting in the Capitol’s rotunda and leading chants of “USA! USA!” with a large group of rioters.
Smith also led the removal of barricades from the inside of the rotunda on the east side of the Capitol and tried to open the doors to let in a “mob of violent and destructive rioters,” according to the government’s sentencing memorandum.
“Far from being a follower simply caught up in the crowd, Smith — a former Army sergeant — quite literally led the charge to open the Rotunda doors from the inside to let in a violent mob clearly visible to him through the damaged door windows on the outside,” the memorandum states.
The rotunda is a large, circular room that sits beneath the building’s famed dome. It’s where many prominent historical figures have lain in state, including Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was given the distinction of “lying in honor” in the rotunda after he died following the Jan. 6 riot.
“No, we ain’t gonna take it,” Smith is heard shouting on camera in the footage. “Let’s fucking go, patriots.”
More people are behind Smith, chanting “USA!” A Donald Trump flag can be seen in the near distance.
Other angles of video footage obtained show the Capitol rioters slamming the glass window of a door and forcing their way inside the building from a witness who was inside. The hammering against the window got harder and louder until the glass shattered.
According to a federal sentencing memorandum, Smith pleaded guilty to one count of parading, demonstrating, or picketing the Capitol. The government recommended a prison sentence because the “actions of January 6 were particularly disturbing” due to a “violent riot” occurring in the Capitol.
Smith and the group of rioters approached a U.S. Capitol police officer outside an entrance to the Office of the Speaker of the House. Smith was in the “front line” and was inches away from the officers. He told them to “stand down” and said rioters were “getting in there one way or another,” the memorandum stated.
Immediately after he made his way inside, Smith “pumped his fist” in victory and led the flood of rioters to the third level of the building. Text messages obtained by the FBI showed that Smith had no remorse for his role in leading the crowd into the Capitol.
“No way in hell I was going to drive 38 hours from San Diego and not walk right through the front of the capit[o]l building,” the messages said, according to the memorandum.
Smith said his purpose was to “send a message that Americans” were not going to accept a “fraudulent election.”