Benjamin Philips collapsed before force was used on the crowd
The first of four supporters of President Donald Trump to die on Jan. 6, 2021, received emergency medical care away from the fast-growing crowd on the U.S. Capitol’s west plaza—before any explosive munitions were used by police—new security video reveals.
Capitol Police closed-circuit-television (CCTV) footage obtained by The Epoch Times calls into question the popular narrative that Benjamin James Philips was struck by a police munition before he collapsed from a fatal cardiac event.
Mr. Philips, 50, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, had organized a busload of area residents to travel to Washington for Mr. Trump’s speech at the Ellipse. He followed the bus in a van.
He got separated from the group when he drove away to search for parking. He got as far as the U.S. Capitol that day but never made it back home.
It has long been contended that Mr. Philips’s death was related to police riot munitions. A popular version of the story is that he was in the thick of the quickly expanding crowd on the west plaza beneath the inauguration stage when he was struck by an explosive munition tossed or shot by police.
A large sign with an artist’s sketch of Mr. Philips is often seen at Jan. 6 events contending that he was “murdered by Capitol Police.”
However, the previously unreleased CCTV video, which was obtained by The Epoch Times from a Capitol Police database, shows that an unconscious Mr. Philips was tended to by protesters behind the large scaffolding complex on the west side, away from the main crowd.
A west dome security camera shows the small area where Mr. Philips later collapsed was breached by the crowd at 12:58:52, shortly after a much larger crowd breached the iron fence protecting the west plaza. Several bike-rack barricades were pushed over as the crowd surged forward.
The camera isn’t zoomed in, so distinguishing details is difficult, but the video appears to show someone stumbling and falling at 12:59:17 in the spot where Mr. Philips was later seen. Bystanders began to gather around the downed individual.
The zoomed-in video of Mr. Philips’s rescue attempt begins at 1:02:51 p.m. That’s the time that the U.S. Capitol Police Command Center trained one of its security cameras on the area where he fell. While the closeup video doesn’t show the moment Mr. Philips collapsed, it picks up shortly after bystanders rendered medical aid and started CPR.
The first Capitol Police radio call for help was broadcast at 1:04 p.m., according to Jan. 6, 2021, audio recordings obtained by The Epoch Times.
“Can you please have someone respond to my location with an AED [automated external defibrillator]? The bottom of the west front with an individual that’s down here, unconscious and not breathing,” a female officer broadcast on the main U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) radio channel.
According to CCTV footage reviewed by The Epoch Times, the first police munitions on Jan. 6, 2021, weren’t used on the west front crowd until 1:10 p.m., about 10 minutes after the first breach of police lines near the Peace Monument. This was moments before Mr. Trump finished his speech at the Ellipse, which is two miles from the Capitol.
Capitol Police Deputy Chief Eric Waldow ordered “less-than-lethal” force to be used on the crowd just prior to 1:06 p.m., according to police radio transmissions obtained by The Epoch Times. It wasn’t until nearly five minutes later that force was actually used.
“I got a crowd fighting with officers, pushing, throwing projectiles,” Deputy Chief Waldow broadcast. “I have given warnings about chemical munitions. I need the less-than-lethal team positioned above me to identify the agitators and start deploying. Launch, launch, launch!”
Security video shows that the iron railing and fence blocking access to the west plaza was breached by protesters at 12:58:41 p.m. Thousands of people quickly filled the plaza.
The first use of explosive force occurred on the south end of the plaza—the opposite side of the west front, where Mr. Philips went down.
Overhead CCTV video footage reviewed by The Epoch Times shows that there were no police munitions used on the north side of the plaza until 20 minutes after Mr. Philips collapsed. By this time, Mr. Philips was in a D.C. Fire and EMS Department ambulance.
The first munitions on that side of the plaza went off far back in the crowd at 1:21 p.m. At 1:25 p.m., two flashes were seen just north of the center of the plaza. Seconds later, two more powerful explosions cleared a circle around where the munitions dropped. This set off visible rage among the protesters.
Over the next hour, more than 40 munitions exploded in the crowd, most of them in the northern half of the west plaza, bodycam and security video footage shows.
A woman who appeared to have a medical kit took charge of performing CPR on Mr. Philips. She took turns doing chest compressions with a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
“Be advised that the person on the northwest side of the upper west terrace is now receiving CPR,” a male USCP officer told the police Command Center. “Have the ambulance come down the northwest sidewalk.”
A man in full camouflage tactical gear standing nearby extended his left hand in prayer and was joined by several others in the crowd.
A group of bystanders appeared to offer opinions on how best to provide advanced life support for Mr. Philips, the video footage shows.
A Capitol Police officer was concerned that the crowd was getting too agitated.
“We need this ambulance,” he said over the USCP radio at 1:13 p.m. “We’re about to lose control of this crowd down here.”
‘Refusing to Come Down’
At about 1:15 p.m., an out-of-breath officer announced that the D.C. Fire and EMS Department rescue squad wouldn’t come down to the scaffolding where Mr. Philips lay on the sidewalk.
“They are bringing the patient up to the ambulance right now,” he shouted on the radio. “They are refusing to come down.”
Another officer said, “The group is carrying the individual up to the ambulance up the northwest drive.”
A dozen or so bystanders and police officers laid a section of bicycle rack flat on the sidewalk. After placing Mr. Philips on it, the group lifted the rack and carried it like a battlefield stretcher.
A woman straddled Mr. Philips and continued CPR as the group carried them about 100 yards up the sidewalk to rescue Squad 18. They turned Mr. Philips over to paramedics at 1:19 p.m.
According to the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Mr. Philips died from a stroke. His manner of death was listed by the pathologist, Dr. Fernando Diaz, as “natural,” and the cause was hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
Mr. Philips was a self-employed computer programmer and toy inventor. He founded Trumparoo LLC, which marketed a line of Trump-inspired toys that went on sale in 2020.
The “Trumparoo” was a kangaroo bedecked with a swirling Trumpian coiffure. He developed a Trumparoo social-media-style website where owners of the toys could communicate.
Mr. Philips got the idea after seeing actress Alyssa Milano post on social media about Trumpy Bear, a stuffed toy with Trump’s signature hairstyle and red tie.
“I thought a kangaroo would be even better than a bear,” Mr. Philips told the local Press Enterprise newspaper in September 2020. “Kangaroos are fighters.”
He developed other characters in the Trumparoo line, including “Fightin’ Trumparoo the Heavyweight,” “Fightin’ Trumparoo the Hippo,” and “Count Trumpula.”
Mr. Philips organized a rally in Bloomsburg on Nov. 14, 2020, to protest election fraud. At about the same time, he established the website ScummyDemocrats.com, which carried his views about the 2020 presidential election. He called the site the Scummy Democrat Accountability Project. The home page headline read: “Remember What They Did.”
On Jan. 6, 2021, he drove a van to Washington while other Trump supporters went on a motor coach. He told a Philadelphia newspaper that he was eager to hear what Mr. Trump had to say at the Ellipse.
“It seems like he called us there for a reason,” Mr. Philips said. “I think something big’s about to go down that no one’s talking about yet. I think he has an ace up his sleeve.”
He spoke openly about election fraud and the meaning of the forthcoming rally with Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Julia Terruso. In an interview with her during the ride to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, he spoke what turned out to be prophetic words.
“It seems like the first day of the rest of our lives, to be honest,” Mr. Philips said. “They should name this Year Zero because something will happen.”
The Epoch Times was unable to reach members of Mr. Philips’ family for comment.