Joseph Rushmore on US Capitol Assault: “People told me to my face that they would kill me”

SPIEGEL: Mr. Rushmore, you were there as a photographer when a mob stormed the Capitol on January 6th. Which picture of the day do you remember?

Rushmore: I followed a group up the stairs on the west side of the Capitol. I think they were the first to break into the building. I followed them through a broken window. When I came out of the building, I looked from the terrace in the direction of the Washington Monument and saw thousands of people in front of me, all streaming towards the Capitol at once. At that moment I became aware of the gravity of the situation. I will never forget that.

SPIEGEL: Did you fear for your life?

Rushmore: I was very afraid beforehand that the police would shoot people with live ammunition. I was wearing a bulletproof vest, but that only helped to a limited extent.

SPIEGEL: And the mob?

Rushmore: Every journalist who was there and spoke to was attacked in some way. I’ve been pushed around a lot. Five or six times that day I was threatened with death: people told me in my face that they would kill me. A person hit me on the back with a square piece of wood with nails sticking out. I have been reporting on the extreme right in the United States for a number of years and am used to this type of treatment to some extent. But usually I am not surrounded by that many people and there are escape routes. I felt trapped in the situation on January 6th. If someone had decided this was the right time to kill journalists, it could very easily have happened.

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