An Israeli supporter of US President Donald Trump was among those who participated in the breach of the US Capitol last week.
Pinchas Gerby told Channel 12 on Sunday that he was inside the Capitol building for some 30 minutes and insisted there was no violence. Gerby claimed he was shoved into the building by the huge crowds behind him who broke through the police barricade, and shrugged off suggestions that US authorities could be on his tail.
In an interview with the same network on Thursday, he had offered a slightly different account, saying that he was hit with rubber bullets in the ribs and teargassed outside the US Capitol, during clashes that broke out between rioters and police. At the rally outside, “some of the guys started going wild, the police responded with force, they tear-gassed us, they shot rubber bullets at us,” he said. In that interview, he also said he was shoved into the building, where he remained for 45 minutes to an hour.
Wednesday’s violent incursion at the US Capitol saw a largely white mob of Trump supporters overpower police, break through security lines and rampage through the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to scatter as they were putting the final, formal touches on validating Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the Electoral College.
The crowd surged to the domed symbol of American democracy following a rally near the White House, where Trump repeated his bogus claims that the election was stolen from him and urged his supporters to march in force toward the Capitol.
Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died as a result of the siege.
— ITV News (@itvnews) January 6, 2021
According to Gerby in his Sunday interview, at the end of the pro-Trump rally outside the legislature, a row of police prevented demonstrators from entering the building.
But then, “a mass of people pushed us forward and breached the line of police officers. There was no violence. I wasn’t dangerous. I didn’t go wild.”
— Tal Schneider טל שניידר تال شنايدر (@talschneider) January 6, 2021
He said he and others calmly walked through the corridors and rooms of the Capitol. “When someone shattered the window, we saw that guns were being pointed at us,” he said.
However, the situation remained so calm, Gerby said, that at one point he even asked for directions to the nearest bathroom.
“I then saw that policemen were going room by room to empty them,” he said, adding that he was then escorted outside the compound.
“You may call me naïve, but I was protesting the fact that the courts didn’t look at the evidence” for widescale voter fraud, he said. No such evidence has been reported by credible sources or accepted by any official overseeing the election, whether Republican or Democrat.
Gerby said he did not do anything wrong, since he was not arrested. However, friends later warned him that the FBI sent out notices asking for the public’s help in identifying and locating members of the mob that breached the Capitol.
“You really think that with today’s technology, the FBI needs help from the public to find me? They can find me in two and a half seconds, which is two seconds too many,” Gerby said.
Agencies contributed to this report.