Jan. 6 riot lands Arkansans in prison

Videos from 2021 show how chaos unfolded at U.S. Capitol

Three years ago, rioters invaded the nation’s Capitol in a bid to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s win over incumbent Donald Trump for the office of president.

For a few hours, Capitol police fought with hundreds of pro-Trump protesters as members of Congress huddled inside, fearing for their safety.

Among the rioters — who have been labeled as “insurrectionists” by some — were a handful of Arkansans who traveled to Washington to attend a protest rally organized by the Trump campaign.

The event turned violent when many of those in attendance heeded a call to march on the Capitol, where they fought with police and security officers before gaining access to the building.

Here is a timeline of the events that day compiled from court filings in cases involving Trump as well as two defendants from Arkansas convicted of felonies for their actions that day: Richard “Bigo” Barnett of Gravette and Peter Stager of Conway.

All times listed are Eastern Time. (Time stamps on screenshots of President Trump’s tweets indicate Central Time.)

Warning: Some video clips include foul language.

12:48 a.m.

After checking into his hotel, Barnett posts to Facebook: "In DC fighting for our freedom."

1:00 a.m.

Trump tweets: “If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency. Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process NOT approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be). Mike can send it back!”

7:00 a.m.

Barnett leaves his hotel to attend the day's rally.

8:17 a.m.

At some point on the morning of Jan. 6, Trump called Pence and “solicited him to disrupt and delay the joint session of Congress” scheduled for that day, according to an indictment filed against Trump in Georgia.

When Pence refused, Trump said Pence would “go down as a wimp” and that Pence wasn’t protecting the United States.

11:56 a.m.

Trump tells the crowd at the Ellipse that, if President-elect Joseph Biden’s election victory isn’t overturned, "we’re going to have somebody in there that should not be in there and our country will be destroyed."

11:59 a.m.

Barnett and two friends from Arkansas attend Trump's speech at the Ellipse.

12:00 p.m.

The U.S. House of Representatives meets.

12:16 p.m.

Trump says that, after he's done speaking, he’ll walk to the Capitol with the crowd. Trump tells the crowd, “You'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength. And you have to be strong."

12:30 p.m.

The U.S. Senate meets.

12:51 p.m.

The Senate proceeds as a body to the House of Representatives for the counting of the electoral ballots.

1:00 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence and the Senate enter the House chamber.

Shortly before 1 p.m., Pence issued a statement explaining that his role as President of the Senate at the certification proceeding that was about to begin didn't include "unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not."

1:05 p.m.

Pence gavels the joint meeting to order.

1:09 p.m.

Trump, who is still speaking at the Ellipse, returns to the theme of marching to the Capitol. "And we fight. We fight like hell," he says.

"And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore."

1:10 p.m.

Trump finishes his speech at the Ellipse. Many people in the crowd walk toward the Capitol, believing Trump is walking there with them.

1:10 p.m.

After Trump's speech, Barnett and his friends start walking with the crowd to the Capitol, getting separated along the way.

1:14 p.m.

The two houses of Congress withdraw from joint session to deliberate a pending objection to Arizona's election results.

2:13 p.m.

Some of the rioters break into the Capitol building.

The Senate is called into recess.

2:13 p.m.

After receiving news that rioters had breached the Capitol, Trump's advisers urge him to issue a calming statement aimed at the rioters, but he refuses, saying they were angry because the election had been stolen.

2:24 p.m.

Trump tweets: "Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!"

2:26 p.m.

The Secret Service evacuates Pence to a secure location.

2:29 p.m.

The House is called into recess because of an "imminent threat to the safety of the House."

2:37 p.m.

A rioter opens the Columbus Doors on the east front of the Capitol from the inside and the crowd on that side of the building begins streaming in.

2:38 p.m.
2:42 p.m.

Rioters break through the glass of the first set of doors at a tunnel on the Capitol's lower west terrace. A violent battle for control of the tunnel ensued.

2:43 p.m.

Barnett enters the Capitol. Once inside, he falls down, then gets back up and continues walking while filming with his cell phone.

2:50 p.m.

Barnett walks into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office suite and sits down in a chair, leans back and props a foot on the desk.

He leaves behind a note for Pelosi

2:57 p.m.

Officers clearing rioters from Capitol offices encounter Barnett in Pelosi's office.

3:00 p.m.

Trump talks on the phone with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif). Trump tells him the crowd at the Capitol is more upset about the election than McCarthy is.

3:13 p.m.
3:13 p.m.

Barnett exited the Capitol through the Senate Wing Door, about 30 minutes after he entered the building.

Outside, with a megaphone, he addresses a crowd and shows them the envelope he took from Pelosi's office.

4:17 p.m.

Trump issues a video message on Twitter, repeating the false claim that the election was stolen and finally asking people to leave the Capitol, while telling them that they were "very special" and that "we love you."

4:27 p.m.

The battle between rioters and police at the tunnel on the lower west terrace -- already underway for two hours -- escalated considerably.

A Metropolitan Police officer is dragged into the crowd, where Peter Stager strikes him three times with a flagpole that had an American flag affixed to the other end.

5:00 p.m.

Heavily armored Virginia State Police officers arrive to reinforce the officers trying to defend the lower west terrace tunnel.

Afterwards, Stager was filmed pointing at the Capitol and saying: "Everybody in there is a disgrace. That entire building is filled with treasonous traitors. Death is the only remedy for what's in that building."

6:01 p.m.

Trump tweets: "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!"

As of Jan. 5, 2024, more than 1,265 defendants have been charged in connection with the Capitol breach of Jan. 6, 2021, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia.

Barnett was sentenced to 54 months in prison and given credit for four months he served in the District of Columbia jail.

Stager was sentenced to 52 months in prison and given credit for 31 months he had already spent in the D.C. jail.

Besides Barnett and Stager, four other Arkansans were charged in connection with the Jan. 6 riot.

Read all our Jan. 6 coverage.


  • REPORTER: Bill Bowden
  • EDITORS: Alyson Hoge, Sarah Campbell-Miller, Glen Chase
  • MEDIA EDITOR: Kyle McDaniel
  • WEB DEVELOPMENT: Aidian Holder

Videos and images of Barnett included in this timeline were used as evidence in his trial and subsequently made available to the media by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Image of Barnett in Pelosi's office provided by AFP/Getty/Saul Loeb

Background image provided by The Associated Press