A highlight from Protecting the Capitol One Year After January 6

The Experiment


When it's finally time for interviews, some Capitol Hill guards let us inside the building. And we go through the metal detectors, we make a sharp right, went down this hallway, past paintings of old dead white men, and inter walker's office. His office is spacious and beautiful. It has his high dome ceiling and beautiful chandelier, and underneath is a huge desk and then in front of that is this long wooden table. Okay. We're gonna set up here. All right, thank you so much. And then the door behind the desk opens. Hi, nice to meet you. Oh, it's nice to meet you. I'm sorry. I appreciate your patience. Walker is tall. He's got gray hair, and he's wearing a suit. One of those you saw in the news is yesterday was a long, long day. And the day before we met him, the house had this marathon session where the Republican minority leader, filibustered President Biden's big infrastructure Bill for almost 9 hours. Walker got home sometime around 4 a.m.. But no, this is not photos though. I'm exhausted. My eyes are nagging. Okay. I was wondering if we can start with just like you introducing yourself. So I'm William J walker. I'm the sergeant at arms, the United States House of representative. I'm the 38th person to have this position. Can you tell me kind of what block you grew up on and if you can paint the picture of what it was like when you were a kid? Yeah. I'll just say the south side of Chicago. So I still have family in Chicago. And as you can hopefully can imagine as a DEA special agent arrested a lot of people. He spent most of his career working for the drug enforcement administration. Danger, excitement and adventure. I put a lot of people in prison. Not your prison. So some of them are probably getting out right about now, so I'm kind of invasive about exactly where I lived and my family. Walker doesn't share much about his personal life, but he's very public about his faith in God. And his love for a TV show called the untouchables. You're too young to remember the untouchables, but these were the exploits of federal prohibition agents. Relentlessly driving on to face new dangers from the neverending cavalcade of criminals who follow in the blood stained footsteps of those who defy the law. And they were men of character and unimpeachable integrity. They were fearless. They were fearless. And they were needed. This is a raid. What in what ways was being an actual agent matched up with your vision from that TV show? Almost completely. Almost completely. So this might sound weird, but you can still catch reruns of the untouchables and I've binge watch it. And I get the same adrenaline rush that I received when I would affect an arrest. Conduct a search warrant. Yeah, it was just. It was thrilling. And you knew you were doing something meaningful that you made America quite frankly the world a safer place. Walker started working for the DEA in the early 80s. No, only African American in my class when I became an agent. Wow. Really? I got the photo. Only African American in my class. Devastated when I got there. Where is everybody? How come to no blacks here? And every day I think I was gonna make it. Well, every day they thought I wasn't gonna make it, but I knew I was. Yeah. But it was hard. It was hard. Deliberately. This was a tough job to get if you were black. In spite of all this, walker ended up staying there for 31 years. The fastest 31 years of my life. Yeah. 25 when I became an agent 57 when I had to turn the toys in. But walker didn't stop working. Throughout his career, he also served in the National Guard, and in 2018, he was appointed head of the D.C. National Guard. And so, on January 6th, 2021, as protesters from the stop the steel rally were heading over to the capitol, walker was preparing his soldiers for the worst case scenario. When you saw the number of people, all massing at the capitol. You know, and it became readily apparent that the crowd size was just huge. It was massive and then if it didn't stay peaceful, it was beyond the capability beyond the capacity of the United States Capitol police to deal with it if the crowd became unruly. And so I already had riot control gear in the vehicles just in case. My command sergeant major had brought the buses inside the armory and had the soldiers with their gear, ready to go. So you think about how prepared we were on January 6th because we had the summer to prepare. And during the summer was when they were like a lot of protests about police and that sort of stuff. We had the riot equipment. The shields, the batons. The protective gear. Just in case. Around 1 p.m., rioters broke through the barricades. They knocked down police officers, climbed the steps of the capitol and started banging on the doors and windows. And while all of this was happening, walker was just a few miles away at the D.C. armory. Watching it all unfold on TV. I'm thinking the phone's gonna ring. Yeah. And somebody's gonna call and ask for the National Guard to respond. Right. So I'm just waiting. And at one 49, the phone did ring, and it was from the chief of the United States Capitol police. And he told me he needed every available guardsman. He told me where he needed us to be. As quick as we could get there. If we didn't get there immediately, he was in fear that

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