Do Photos Show Rioters with Zip Cuffs at US Capitol?

Photographs of the insurrectionist mob that stormed the Capitol showed several rioters ready with zip-tie handcuffs in the U.S. Senate chamber.

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capitol riot zip cuffs
Image via Win McNamee/Getty Images

Claim

Members of the insurrectionist mob that broke into the Capitol were photographed in the Senate chamber holding zip cuffs.

Origin

UPDATE: On Jan. 10, 2021, The New York Times reported on the arrests of two men who carried around zip-tie handcuffs in the Capitol.

In the wake of the deadly and unprecedented riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, several photographs showed pro-Trump members of the insurrectionist mob in the Senate chamber. A Reddit post read: “For those who insist this was just a ‘protest,’ that is a man with zip-cuffs on the Senate floor.” Included with the post was a photograph of a Capitol rioter with what appeared to be zip-tie handcuffs, also called zip cuffs, plastic handcuffs, or flex cuffs.

Who the mob intended to use the cuffs on remained unclear as of this writing. At the time, people known to be in the Capitol included law enforcement, news media, the vice president, members of Congress, and other Capitol staffers.

Jim Bourg, a Reuters news pictures editor who was at the Capitol that day, tweeted that he heard at least three rioters say they “hoped to find Vice President Mike Pence and execute him by hanging him from a Capitol Hill tree as a traitor.” U.S. President Donald Trump had negatively tweeted about Pence just prior to the riots, saying he lacked the “courage” to overturn the election.

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Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Win McNamee is the chief photographer for Getty Images who captured the picture shared in the Reddit post, plus several others. The caption for the photographs described the scene on Jan. 6, 2021, as follows:

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: Protesters enter the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. Pro-Trump protesters have entered the U.S. Capitol building after mass demonstrations in the nation’s capital. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

We cropped the original version of the photograph to show a closer look at the zip cuffs:

A second photo appeared to have been captured a moment later:

zip cuffs zipcuffs handcuffs zip ties senate mob rioters insurrectionists extremists terrorists
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

This angle provided confirmation that the violent, pro-Trump rioters had a handful of zip cuffs in their possession in the Senate chamber:

Twitter users believed they found video of the same rioter entering the Capitol. The hat and outfit appeared to match. However, the quality of the video was poor. We were unable to definitively confirm whether this was the same person:

A third photograph showed a different member of the Capitol mob also holding zip cuffs in the Senate chamber:

zip cuffs zipcuffs handcuffs zip ties senate mob rioters insurrectionists extremists terrorists
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

The zip cuffs are being held at the bottom of the frame of the photograph:

A fourth picture showed an alternate angle of the same person from the previous photograph. He’s the rioter wearing a helmet on the upper left side of the picture:

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

We have provided a cropped, close-up view of this one as well from the original Getty Images photograph: