SWFL residents who went to Capitol don’t condone violence witnessed

Several people from Southwest Florida went to Washington D.C. Wednesday, where they were planning to rally in support of President Donald Trump in what escalated to riots.

Phil Cooper of Babcock Ranch says he’s disappointed people were able to storm the U.S. Capitol. By the time he made it there, he said he heard people were already inside.

“It was electric,” Cooper said. “It was a lot of energy in the air.”

Once Cooper learned people stormed inside the Capitol, he had a different feeling.

“I’m disappointed that people went into the Capitol,” Cooper said. “I’m amazed it was allowed to happen.”

He says the police were overwhelmed.

“Disappointed that the Metro police weren’t prepared at all, at the capacity for any of this,” Cooper said. “Disappointed anyone made it into the Capitol.”

Cooper was getting back to his hotel when we spoke to him. He said his eyes were still burning from all of the pepper spray.

Lorrin Hamilton of Cape Coral was also at the Capitol Wednesday. She says, at one point, she had to tell another man not to throw wood at a police officer.

“I saw a man picking up some wood. I told him, ‘No. No,’” Hamilton explained. “I knew he was going to throw it at police, and I don’t want him to. I realize how wrong that is.”

Hamilton said she felt the impacts of pepper spray in the crowd.

“Tear gas was going everywhere, back and forth,” Hamilton said. “People are throwing at police, and police were pepper-spraying everyone.”

Both Cooper and Hamilton don’t condone the violence they witnessed.

“There’s always some idiots in the crowd,” Cooper said.

“I do understand the anger. I felt it myself,” Hamilton said. “I don’t condone violence. I absolutely don’t … You don’t throw it at the policeman.”

Reporter:Justin Kase
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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