Mason City Councilman attended violent US Capitol protest: ‘Very disheartening because it was such a great event’

The protest left a woman dead and sent shockwaves through the American political system.
Mason City Councilman in Washington during upheaval
Updated: Jan. 6, 2021 at 10:26 PM EST
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BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Mason City Councilman TJ Honerlaw says he attended the protest event Wednesday at the US Capitol building.

The unprecedented and violent protest interrupted lawmakers as they were confirming electoral votes, an act necessary to certify the election of Joe Biden. It also left a woman dead from a gunshot wound.

Full Story | Pro-Trump mob storms US Capitol

Honerlaw says he was at the event in a personal capacity and not in his role as a councilman.

“Some of my friends were actually on the steps of the Capitol, but we did not hear anything that happened,” Honerlaw said. “Very disheartening, because it was such a great event.”

The councilman speaks of an event where people were preaching and singing hymns. He says he learned protesters had entered the Capitol building on the news but adds he was “pretty darn close to where the door is.”

He says he never saw “anything that looked like anything.”

>> Local leaders respond as protesters swarm US Capitol: ‘This is an embarrassment’

US Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio David DeVillers said Wednesday federal crimes were committed Wednesday at the Capitol building and that anyone who traveled from Greater Cincinnati to DC “with the intent to commit” those crimes will be prosecuted.

David Niven is a professor of Political Science at the University of Cincinnati. Wednesday’s events left him with big questions about the future of American democracy.

“Do we have a democracy tomorrow? Do we have elections in two, four, six, and eight years that will be respected? That’s really what’s at danger here,” Niven said.

He adds what happened Wednesday could have consequences for the country’s standing in the international community, including those countries for which the United States has exemplified a working, pluralistic democracies.

“They will point to our nation in chaos and say, ‘Is that how you do it?’”

Niven continued: “In this moment, we all lose. Whether you voted for Trump or you voted for Biden or you didn’t vote at all, you have a stake in the system functioning. You have a stake in people respecting each other at a basically level even if they disagree on ideas.”

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