Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night condemned the treatment of a Capitol Police officer caught on camera wearing a MAGA cap on January 6, arguing that surveillance tapes showed he was doing his job and was wrongly forced out.
On Monday, Carlson claimed that the footage showed the rioters were ‘mostly peaceful’. On Tuesday, he spoke to Lt. Tarik Johnson about the unrest, and Johnson’s infamy after he was seen wearing the hat.
Johnson told Carlson that his bosses had failed them, saying the Capitol Police commanders were ill prepared and did not answer when he radioed seeking guidance.
He said it was shameful that his boss, Assistant Chief Yogananda Pittman, who oversaw the department’s operations in the days leading up to the riot, had been praised by Nancy Pelosi and was now in a cosy role heading up policing at the University of California in Berkeley.
Lt. Tarik Johnson is seen on January 6 wearing a MAGA cap
Johnson told Tucker Carlson (right) that when he radioed asking for guidance amid the riot, there was no response
‘The frontline officers and supervisors were not prepared at all,’ Johnson told Carlson.
‘We had no idea we were going to be facing what we faced that day.’
Carlson broadcast footage of Johnson appearing to help protect the members of Congress inside the building when it was stormed.
Johnson was suspended the day after the riot, when footage of him in the MAGA cap emerged.
He then resigned, believing he had no future at the force.
Carlson presented Johnson diligently doing his job.
‘Around 2 o’clock I hear an officer say the Capitol was breached. So I ran inside to assist,’ said Johnson, adding that he locked doors to keep the political leaders safe.
He then radioed his bosses for help.
‘I said something to the effect of, we need direction,’ Johnson said.
‘What do you want me to do.
Assistant Chief Yogananda Pittman, who oversaw the department’s operations in the days leading up to the riot. She was promoted on January 7, but resigned in July 2022
Johnson condemned Pittman’s leadership
Johnson is seen on January 6 working to evacuate the Capitol
Johnson continued: ‘I was requesting permission to evacuate the senate side, the senate chambers, because I had a clear line of sight to get them out the senate door, and I didn’t get permission.
‘The dispatcher called a couple times to see if I could get permission.
He said that his superiors failed, so he had to take the initiative.
‘The person that I thought was going to authorize the evacuation didn’t do it,’ Johnson said.
‘I wanted to get those members of congress out as quickly as I could.
‘That’s why I initiated those evacuations.’
He said he deliberately ignored the chain of command, and usual procedures.
‘Me being disciplined, it wasn’t as important as not getting the members of congress and their staff to safety.’
Carlson asked him about the moment he donned the MAGA cap.
‘There was a demonstrator on the right side of me, he reached over and put the MAGA hat on me,’ said Johnson, a self-professed Biden voter.
‘He asked for it back and I said I would like to keep it as the hat is going to help me.’
Carlson said: ‘It’s your passport through the crowd.’
‘I figured if I had the hat on, it would be easier for me to navigate my way through the crowd.
‘It was basically self-preservation and deescalation and I needed to get up those steps.
‘I couldn’t say what would have happened walking through that crowd without it.’
Johnson said he was never contacted by the January 6 Committee, even though he wanted to testify about what he had seen.
‘I asked myself why every day,’ he said.
‘And every day I might have a different answer but I looked at how pretty much they focused on Donald Trump, and not the failures of the Capitol Police.’
Asked by Carlson why the rioters were in the Capitol, Johnson said some wanted to be violent, but others believed they were acting patriotically.
‘I think that some people there had planned on being violent. Some people may have turned violent after what they were going through.
‘I think that people wanted to support their president.
‘Some of those people wanted just to support him and some of those people didn’t commit violence, and some of those people didn’t plan on it.’