Chicago (CBS) — On this one year anniversary of the rebellion at the US Capitol, Hundreds of people are facing charges – Much more is expected – and some remain concerned about what the riot could mean as an omen for the future of democracy.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, rioters stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday afternoon — breaking down steps, beating Capitol police officers, and eventually making their way inside.
Read more: Chicago weather: Gust of wind in effect, below zero temperature
As the chaos cleared, and the rebellion ended, at least 12 people from the Chicagoland area were charged and have cases pending against them. CBS 2’s Dee Mar spoke with the two of them upon their return home.
One of them was Brad Ruxtels of Inverness, the chief executive officer of Schomberg-based tech company Cogencia. He was fired by the company the same day he was struck with federal charges for his role in the riots.
“I had nothing to do with charging anyone or anything or doing any of that,” he said. “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I’m sorry for my role in that.”
As Capitol police retreated down a flight of stairs on a winter’s day, federal prosecutors said the chairs fell behind them. Ruktales is accused of throwing one of those chairs. He pleaded guilty to the charges in August.
The Ruxtels are the only residents of Illinois who have so far been sentenced to prison for participating in the riots. Sentenced to 30 days and ordered to pay $500 in damages.
He is reporting at a federal prison in Michigan on February 1.
Dre Mar also spoke to David Fitzgerald of Rosalee, who was arrested for curfew violations and trespassing on federal property.
“Unfortunately, I was arrested,” Fitzgerald said two days later. “Well, yes. Guilty of curfew violation. Okay. I’m a sinner, you know.”
Fitzgerald said he did not go inside the Capitol, but that he was two hundred feet away from the violent chaos.
“We could see the Capitol,” he said. “And we’re like, ‘Are people climbing on that?’ And they were. I know what happened. I saw people there. It’s not good. We’ve heard people die too, and how am I?”
But he said he has no regrets.
“What would I regret?” They said.
Read more: Northwest Indiana Family Loses Dogs When Colorado Airbnb Burns In Martial Fire, Wonder If They Could Have Been Alerted Sooner
A year after the riots, de Mar spoke to US Representative Raja Krishnamurthy (D-Illinois).
“I think we have to remember the fragility of our democracy Charlie,” Krishnamurthy said. “I was pulled out twice after the Capital Police discovered a bomb 200 feet from my office window.”
Krishnamurthy said he is concerned that the punishment for those who have been charged is mild, and that not enough people have been held accountable for their role as of January 6, 2021.
“When people don’t feel the consequences of their actions, they feel like they can do it again — and that’s why I worry about that,” he said.
CBS 2’s Mary Saavedra also spoke to US Representative Mike Quigley (D-Illinois) about her memories of that day from a year ago.
“I was doing a radio interview. At the time it hit me, and now it kind of approaches — I said, what does it tell the rest of the world that I’m sitting here waiting for the National Guard to go back and Can I vote on peaceful transfer of power?” Quigley said. “As I walked back into the Statue Hall, all the statues were covered with powder, and someone said, ‘Don’t touch your face!’ And that’s because that was the powder that accompanied the tear gas when it settled.”
Quigley turned to the speaker’s lobby, where he watched after an incident where a police officer shot and killed 35-year-old Ashley Babbitt as she tried to climb through a broken window.
“When the glass broke, and you could hear tear gas canisters and doors banging, at the peak moment, I remember hearing a colleague of mine say, ‘So when do the impressive horsemen come here?’ It never came,” Quigley said. “And there are a lot of issues with the fact that the cavalry never came.”
Despite the horrors of that day, Quigley said that members of Congress could not live in fear, and that the government’s work should continue.
“Polarization has always been there. The president poured petrol on that fire – President Trump – in his election and in his four years as president. He fed a rage that existed. I think they fueled a dark side of this country that still exists, and I don’t know if we can ever reach people who are so far from there that they think it’s okay who 6 Happened on January,” Quigley said. “But we have to try. Treatment efforts should be made. Efforts should be made to form alliances so that good works can be done.”
Meanwhile, DePaul University professor and terrorism analyst Tom Mokaitis told De Mar, without confidence in our polls, the January 6 results could last for years and should be of concern to voters.
“The fundamentals that make democracy possible have been undermined,” Mockitis said. “I think they should be very concerned, I guess, but I don’t think they should be freaking out either.”
Chicago police officer Karol Chwisiuk was also charged with rioting after photos of him wearing a CPD sweatshirt inside the Capitol surfaced. He is on non-attendance leave since August and is not getting salary. His case is still pending.
more news: Classes for Chicago public schools were canceled again on Friday amid a standoff with the union over remote learning
Also Thursday night, Chicago activists rallied at Federal Plaza, calling for action to stop Jan. During the Democracy Rally, speakers urged Congress to pass voting rights legislation to protect the will of the people in future elections.