BREESPORT, N.Y. (WETM) – Nearly a week later, the country is continuing to try and recover from Wednesday’s aftermath at the U.S. Capitol.
A former Elmira Police Department officer of over 30 years and certified chemical agents instructor was one tens of thousands of Trump supporters in Washington, D.C. last week exercising his 1st Amendment rights.
Our 18 News reporter Matt Paddock sat down with David Sadler as he gave his first hand account of what he saw, as well as in his professional opinion, how he believes things could have been better handled by Capitol Police.
Sadler said, “We did listen to the president and then as a church group we moved to the Capitol and it was there that I saw things that concerned me even further”.
Sadler says during his 32 years of law enforcement right here in Elmira, there were policies in place on how they handled crowds, and Sadler says ‘Rule number 1 is when you’re outnumbered 5,000 to 1 you don’t irritate the crowd unless you want to provoke a response”.
“‘In my opinion based on where I was and the timing and what I saw was the crowd was peaceful until the unreasonable escalation of use of force… And it hurts me to say that because that’s my profession”, says Sadler.
Sadler says that he saw 15-20 smoke grenades launched into the crowd and that the incorrect use of the grenades were part of what escalated tensions in the crowd.
“You don’t launch a smoke grenade this way, you skid it along the ground there’s several reasons for that.. If you launch it overhead and it hits someone in the head coming down it can kill them– it’s exactly the wrong way to use those things”, says Sadler.
After the smoke, came the tear gas.
“When they started launching the real tear gas, the leader of our group, realizing there were children and women in our group he made a wise decision to withdraw”, “shortly thereafter I had the chance to walk around the outside of the Capitol building and see what else was going on”.
That’s when Sadler called into question the Capitol Police’s communication.
“They should’ve been saying things over a loud speaker like we hear you we know why you’re here please respect the inner perimeter”.
The conducted interview lasted 20 minutes and not all of Mr. Sadler’s statements were able to be included. Below are other statements from yesterday’s interview:
“The people who got inside, be they ANTIFA, BLM or even Trump supporters. They shouldn’t have gone inside that’s burglary… clear and simple. They shouldn’t have been in their, how they got in is entirely beyond me. If, if somebody let them in, then there should be some legal consequences to that” said, Sadler.
“After 32 years of law enforcement I don’t believe anything I hear and only half of what I see. But what I’ve seen over the last election cycle truly disturbed me. I believe there are some legitimate questions about the validity of the last election. And I’m not alone.” said, Sadler.
“The crowd itself was noisy. But peaceful. It wasn’t until the smoke bombs started flying that I started to get concerned. I saw several smoke grenades launched into the crowd, and you don’t launch a smoke grenade this way, you skip it along the ground. There’s several reasons for that, the big one being is it can be considered a use of deadly physical force. A smoke grenade is about the size of a can of soup, okay, and it weighs about a pound depending on exactly what kind you’re using… If you launch that overhead and it hits somebody in the head on the way down, you can kill him. That’s exactly the wrong way to use those things” said, Sadler.
“One landed about 20 yards from me and it was a colored smoke and everybody thought it was tear gas but it wasn’t, it was smoke, at that point. After I didn’t count them but I’m going to guess 15 to 20 smoke grenades, being launched into the crowd… then the tear gas started, and the crowd was made up of everybody there was young men, older men, young women, older women and there was children. There was some women carrying infants and what was most disturbing to me to see that escalation of force on the part of the Capitol Police, because it really did turn the crowd” said, Sadler.
“When they started launching the real tear gas, the leader of our group, realizing that there were women and children in our group made a wise decision to withdraw. And that’s what we did. And shortly thereafter I had a chance to walk around the outside of the Capitol building and see what else was going on. And I saw people outside the building. I didn’t myself see anybody breaching the building. But I did see people on the east steps of the Capitol which had been inside the second perimeter. And I did take a couple pictures of that, but my opinion based on where I was and the timing and what I saw was the crowd was peaceful until the completely unreasonable escalation of force by the Capitol Police, and it hurts me to say that because that’s my profession. But I have no idea what was going through their head, what training they had. If indeed they were letting demonstrators into the Capitol building on the other side… while they are launching tear gas at us for being noisy. I mean, where’s the coordination, who’s in charge of that?” said, Sadler.