Chaos at the Capitol: Statements from Massachusetts officials


(WWLP) – The U.S. Capitol locked down Wednesday afternoon with lawmakers inside as violent clashes broke out between supporters of President Donald Trump and police. The Governor of Massachusetts, state police and lawmakers issued statements and comments as the situation unfolded.

Massachusetts Governor:

Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito Issue Statements on Violence at the US Capitol

“I join with Americans from every corner of the country to condemn the violence unfolding at the Capitol, and President Trump and his supporters must do the same immediately,” said Governor Baker. “The chaos now unfolding is the sad but predictable outcome of weeks of attacks, perpetrated by President Trump and his supporters against the democratic process that makes America the greatest nation on earth, and these baseless challenges to President-elect Biden’s victory must stop.”

“The horrific violence unfolding at the Capitol is an attack on our democracy and should be condemned without qualification by President Trump and his supporters,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “It is time for all Americans to embrace a peaceful transition of power and move forward to heal our nation.”

Massachusetts State Police:

“We continue to monitor potential protest activity nationally and locally, and will be prepared for any contingencies that could threaten public safety in Massachusetts. As always, our objective is to ensure that potential protestors in our areas of jurisdiction, regardless of the opinions they express, may demonstrate freely — provided they do so peacefully and with respect for the rights, safety, and property of other persons and the surrounding community. At this time we are not aware of any threats to public safety in Massachusetts; we continue to monitor developments and will be prepared to respond accordingly.”

U.S. Attorney:

“Yesterday’s events in Washington were shocking and, once peaceful demonstrations turned violent, they became criminal. The Constitution protects the right to freedom of speech and assembly. What is does not protect is a violent assault on government institutions. Americans on the right and left must re-learn the difference. Anyone who traveled from Massachusetts with the intent to commit such crimes will be prosecuted in the District of Massachusetts.”

University of Massachusetts

During my years of service in the United States Congress, I never could have imagined the U.S. Capitol being desecrated in such fashion. Equally, I couldn’t have envisioned elected officials inciting and condoning seditious violence and thereby connecting themselves to actions aimed at subverting our sacred democratic principles. It is undeniable we all have a lot of work to do in restoring our democracy while also confronting the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice.

As a university president, I am optimistic because I know that our students and young people across this country will continue to strive for the more perfect union that each generation has pursued. It is our job to encourage, inspire and prepare them to lead. As President Kennedy said in his City On A Hill speech just before leaving Massachusetts for his inauguration, these times call for leaders to demonstrate courage, judgment, integrity and dedication as “the eyes of all people are upon us.”

Statement from UMass President Marty Meehan regarding the assault on the U.S. Capitol

Massachusetts Representatives:


Joint Statement from Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman and Superintendent of Amherst Regional Public Schools Michael Morris

“Like everyone else, we watched in disbelief as events unfolded at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. today. This was an assault on the very core of our democratic process and principles.

The significant violence occurred while the Congress was in the process of ratifying the results of the presidential election. The seriousness of this event cannot be understated. Significantly, it interrupted an essential component of the peaceful transfer of the power of the presidency, a process that is the bedrock of our democratic government.

We recognize that the images of violence and other illegal acts we saw are disturbing to both adults and children. Graphic videos of people inside the Capitol using racial slurs and other white supremacist language and flying the Confederate flag appeared frequently on the news and social media. We understand these images may provoke a wide range of emotions, and may be experienced as a trauma-inducing event. While many of us have not experienced something like this in the United States in our lifetimes, it may reopen past traumas for individuals who have experienced racial violence or witnessed insurrection in other countries in which they or their families have lived. 

We want to assure our residents, workers, families, educators, and students that we are being vigilant at the local level to make sure that no one here imitates the violence we saw in our capital. We are committed to the safety of our residents. And our commitment to peaceful, if energetic, democratic debate will not be diminished.

For our young people, the School District will provide a space for students to communicate their concerns tomorrow morning. Regardless of one’s political opinions, it is important to note that this event is not a standard protest or an example of exercising one’s rights under the First Amendment. This was a violent event and students will likely have questions about the political process that was happening, as well as reactions to the events that have unfolded. For parents and guardians, there is no script or lesson plan for how best to discuss this situation with your children.

All schools will have mental health staff available to talk to students or colleagues who may be struggling with these events. Town and School staff have confidential access to counselors through our Employee Assistance provider.

In the meantime, our commitment to peaceful, democratic government rooted in legal precepts remains unshaken. Local government, local schools, local elections are the foundation of how we choose to govern ourselves. It requires constant vigilance to sustain it. “

The following resources may be helpful to you and may guide you as you prepare to support your children:

West Springfield:

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