By Joseph M. Hanneman
After CPR and other lifesaving efforts inside a basement entrance to the U.S. Capitol failed, Jan. 6 protester Rosanne M. Boyland was moved up one level to the Crypt, where DC Fire and EMS Department paramedics continued resuscitation efforts for another 40 minutes, new security video shows.
Previously unreleased Capitol Police closed-circuit-television footage obtained by The Epoch Times adds crucial new details to the tragic story of Ms. Boyland, 34, of Kennesaw, Georgia, who died after collapsing outside the Lower West Terrace tunnel on Jan. 6, 2021.
The security video deflates claims made in the initial Capitol Police report that Ms. Boyland simply collapsed in the Capitol Rotunda at 5 p.m. on Jan. 6, and that the officer who observed her “wandering around the Rotunda” immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Nothing that the Metropolitan Police Department relayed to Ms. Boyland’s family from the Jan. 7 report turned out to be true, except that she was dead. As the security video conclusively shows, Ms. Boyland did not collapse in the Rotunda and paramedics did not find her there receiving CPR from two unnamed Capitol Police officers.
Ms. Boyland’s mother, Cheryl Boyland, thought something seemed off about that report from the time she first read it at 4:23 a.m. on Jan. 7, 2021. “I was shocked and angry that the police would lie about Rosanne’s death on their report to other police officers,” Mrs. Boyland told The Epoch Times in an email.
The new video only deepens the stark contrast between the indifference shown to a pulseless Ms. Boyland by police outside the tunnel and the unflinching trauma care she received from medics, police officers, and paramedics once she was brought inside the Capitol.
The video also underscores the desperate attempts to save Ms. Boyland’s life by a group of fellow protesters, who repeatedly begged police for medical help and began CPR themselves when no officers stepped forward.
It does nothing, however, to explain why MPD Officer Lila Morris beat the unconscious Ms. Boyland with a walking stick while she lay prone and defenseless on the sidewalk.
“Once again, we are very appreciative of these people trying to save her, but come to the same conclusion as before,” Bret Boyland, Rosanne’s father, told The Epoch Times. “She got the attention way too late.”
Mr. Boyland said in the initial wake of Jan. 6, the family was unsure if his daughter got any medical care after she collapsed. The new CCTV video helped to answer that question.
“We were relieved to see they were actually trying to save her,” Mr. Boyland said. “Before seeing any of these videos we just didn’t know they did anything and maybe just shoved her over in some corner and ignored her.
“This video is more comfort to that initial uncertainty we had and helped answer that original question of what did they do after they dragged her inside,” Mr. Boyland said.
Ms. Boyland traveled to Washington to attend President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 speech at the Ellipse. She traveled with a friend, Justin F. Winchell, 44, of Marietta, Georgia. She was the last of four of Mr. Trump’s supporters to die at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Ms. Boyland wandered into the Lower West Terrace tunnel at the Capitol at 4:18 p.m. that day. At the time, the crowd in the tunnel was not violent, although serious fighting had occurred earlier.
At 4:20 p.m., police released gas into the tunnel, setting off a stampede of protesters toward the tunnel mouth. Ms. Boyland fell to the ground on the north side of the tunnel entrance, where she and dozens of others became trapped under piles of bodies. Mr. Winchell told the Boyland family that Ms. Boyland collapsed after being struck in the chest with a projectile, likely a pepper ball.
‘I Felt I Was Going to Die’
“I felt it because I can’t breathe. That’s what it felt like,” protester Philip Anderson, who stood next to Ms. Boyland in the tunnel, told The Epoch Times in 2022. “So I turn around and run away. I try to get out as fast as I can.
“If I had stood still, I honestly felt I was going to die,” Mr. Anderson said. “That’s what it felt like, ‘You’re not going to be able to get air inside if you don’t get out now.’”
Over the past 18 months, The Epoch Times has assembled eyewitness accounts, police reports, open-source video, and police bodycam footage as part of its investigation of Ms. Boyland’s death. The new Capitol Police CCTV video was obtained through access granted by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
Previously released police bodycam video documented the desperate pleas from the crowd for police to stop pushing protesters out of the tunnel. The unfolding tragedy was punctuated by cries of, “Save her,” “Oh God, a woman’s down,” and “There are people trapped under here!”
Protesters, including Edward “Jake” Lang, Tennessee sheriff’s deputy Ronald Colton McAbee, and podcaster Villain Phoenix, attempted CPR on Ms. Boyland after she was pulled away from the tunnel mouth where she lay unconscious.
“They collapsed inside that corridor from asphyxiation,” the podcaster said in a live stream broadcast on Jan. 6. “She couldn’t breathe. And they brought her out onto the main steps outside of that. Several people started doing CPR on her.
“I tried to get her carotid pulse for several minutes,” he said. “I cut part of her jeans away so I could try to feel her femoral pulse, and I couldn’t feel her femoral pulse at all. I tried for a minute or two on both.”
The densely packed crowd became angry after seeing Ms. Morris emerge on the front police line and hit the lifeless Ms. Boyland with a wooden walking stick. Ms. Boyland was struck three times, bodycam video shows.
‘We Were Attacked’
“…She is laid out, maybe dead at this point, but they hit her at least two times in the body,” Mr. Winchell said in 2021. “And then they hit her once in the face, once right here in her nose, and some blood started coming out of her nose. Like, this is not a joke. Like, we were attacked.”
Mr. Winchell told the Boyland family that Ms. Boyland was struck by rubber bullets, a fact relayed to the DC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Bodycam footage reviewed by The Epoch Times shows a police officer firing pepper balls into the tunnel crowd at 4:20 p.m., just as police began an aggressive push toward the tunnel mouth.
Pepper balls contain PAVA—a powder-based irritant similar to capsicum that forms a small cloud upon impact. Fired by compressed air, the pepper projectiles travel up to 300 feet per second.
The pepper cloud can cause “skin irritation, serious eye irritation, and serious respiratory irritation,” according to one manufacturer’s product literature. “Exposure may result in copious tears, temporary blindness, burning sensation, and difficulty breathing.”
Use-of-force expert Stan Kephart previously told The Epoch Times that Morris’s use of force was a felonious “assault under the color of authority,” with intent to cause great bodily harm. He said that Morris should be prosecuted in criminal court and fired from the police force. Metropolitan Police designated all uses of force on Jan. 6 as “objectively reasonable,” including Ms. Morris’s striking Ms. Boyland.
Kephart also questioned the use of gas in an enclosed space due to the lack of easy egress and the tendency for the gas to remove the oxygen in the air.