Culture Wars/Current Controversies

How Many Died as a Result of Capitol Riot?

In a tweet on Oct. 24, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referred to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 as “a terror attack,” which she said resulted in “almost 10 dead.” She called for “any member of Congress who helped plot” it to be “expelled.”

Journalist Glenn Greenwald commented on Twitter that the claim of “‘almost 10 dead’ from the 1/6 riot is deceitful in the extreme. Four people died on 1/6: all Trump supporters.”

There is reasoned debate about the number who died as a result of the Capitol riot. Ocasio-Cortez is including law enforcement officials who responded to the Capitol that day and committed suicide in the days and months afterward. None of them have been officially designated as “line of duty” deaths, though there is some congressional support for it.

Ocasio-Cortez’s tally also includes two rally participants who died of heart failure — including one who died before other protesters had breached the Capitol. It includes a rallygoer who was initially believed to have been trampled to death in the mayhem that day, but was later determined to have died of an accidental overdose.

We take no position in the debate over whom to include in the deaths from the riots. But here we lay out what is publicly known about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the nine people included in Ocasio-Cortez’s tally.

Trump Supporters

Two heart attacks: According to an April release from the Washington, D.C., medical examiner’s office, “Stop the Steal” protesters Kevin Greeson, 55, and Benjamin Phillips, 50, both died of cardiovascular disease, and the manner of death was deemed “natural.”

According to a ProPublica profile, Greeson, of Athens, Alabama, was participating in the protest outside the Capitol when he suffered a heart attack and died minutes before the first rioters breached the Capitol. The article notes that a Metropolitan Police Department incident report at the time states that Greeson “was in the area of the United States Capitol in attendance of first amendment activities” when he had a heart attack.


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