Two Republican congressmen and a congresswoman were accused of interfering with public property on July 29. They say their only crime was investigating possible mistreatment of Capitol rioters in custody.
The District of Columbia Department of Corrections (DOC) alleges GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), and Louis Gohmert (Texas) trespassed on government property.
DOC officers strangely claimed the Republicans broke the law by trying to visit detainees who are suspected of smashing windows, vandalizing public property, seizing offices, and forcing a complete evacuation of both the House and Senate on Jan. 6.
The representatives wanted to hear for themselves how the protesters are doing and investigate allegations they were abused in custody. A camera crew followed them to the facility and waited outside.
However, a video recording of the confrontation shows DOC staff refusing entry to Gaetz, Greene, and Gohmert. Security officers can be heard saying the lawmakers are “obstructing entrance into this facility.”
Gohmert later revealed the employees showed little respect for him and the other elected representatives.
“The supervisor came down and was standing right here and turned her back on me,” he said according to The Hill. “The other one said she will not talk anymore and that we are trespassers.”
This poor example of civil service reminded the congressman of what life must be like in developing countries ruled by authoritarian regimes.
“We are in totalitarian, Marxist territory here,” he said according to the paper. “This is the way third-world people get treated.”
Greene is still confused by the DOC’s unusual behavior. Her office received no reasonable explanation for why they were barred entry at the time of publication.
Gaetz appeared in a different video that shows him being locked out of the facility. He wears his face mask and knocks on the door repeatedly, saying he wishes to enquire about “conditions of the January 6th prisoners.”
However, security workers on the other side of the glass door keep their backs turned away. They eventually move away from the door, even after Greene knocks on the door too.
“The door is locked and we are just here to ask questions, and now they have locked the door and not given us access,” Gaetz can be heard saying. “This was apparently a bait and switch. We are here just to speak to a supervisor and, when the supervisor came out–and we came out to have that discussion–they literally ran behind us and locked the doors.”
Gaetz stressed he and his fellow Republicans were simply concerned about the Capitol riot detainees’s welfare.
After The Hill questioned DOC about its staff conduct, the department accused the Republicans of not following visiting protocols.
“[They arrived] unannounced with an unauthorized camera crew requesting a facility tour,” a DOC representative told the paper. “These officials compromised safety and security operations at the DOC.”
“All visitors, which includes family members of residents, attorneys, and public officials, must adhere to the rules and procedures of the DOC,” the representative added.