Debate rages on who this police officer is signaling to.
There can be no debate that police command were woefully underprepared for Wednesday's attack on the Capitol.
But there is debate on the actions of some individual police officers — such as this one seen beckoning as the mob advances.
A video uploaded on Twitter prompted fiery back and forth online, as it appeared to show the officer motioning the Trump-supporting invaders into the congressional buildings just before the chaos that would end in the deaths of five people and America's reputation embarrassingly stained.
"Confirmed that some police were involved in the Capitol attack yesterday #CapitolRiots" Twitter user Steven Bumbera wrote, posting the video that has been watched 4million times, adding that he had tried to pass it along to the FBI.
The 9-second clip unmistakably shows the officer running toward the crowd, motioning to someone off screen to come forward, before turning and jogging back towards the Capitol steps himself while the rabble follows.
However, some insist the officer was actually signaling to colleagues to abandon their hopelessly outnumbered post and retreat back to the building — for their own safety and to help protect the lawmakers inside.
Indeed a longer 30-second clip of the video appears to show two safety vest-wearing individuals, apparently police officers, following the first officer towards the buildings moments later.
Other videos of police reactions on the day have triggered just as fervent responses, from the footage of the lone Black officer trying to hold off the angry (and very white) mob as he retreated up a stairwell; to the officers that stood aside as the barriers were parted; to the officer that posed for a selfie with the invaders:
The US left 1 Black cop to defend the US Capitol from the White Supremacist coup attempt ...
On Friday it was confirmed that one US Capitol Police Officer lost his life in the attack: Brian D. Sicknick died on Thursday night, one day after being struck over the head with a fire extinguisher.
"Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters. He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries," his superiors confirmed in a statement. A federal murder investigation is now being launched.
On Thursday, U.S. Capitol Police Steven Sund resigned amid heavy criticism for the lack of preparation for the siege, which had reportedly been openly discussed on internet forums for weeks.
His departure came shortly after the department's union head Gus Papathanasiou commended members for their actions, but slammed leadership for putting them in that position.
"We prioritized lives over property, leading people to safety," he said in a statement. "Not one Member of Congress or their staff was injured. Our officers did their jobs. Our leadership did not. Our Law Enforcement partners that assisted us were remarkable."