Ayanna Pressley’s Panic Buttons Were Torn Out Ahead of Riots, says Chief of Staff

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Panic buttons installed in Ayanna Pressley’s congressional office were torn out ahead of the riots at Capitol Hill last week, says her chief of staff.

Sarah Groh, Pressley’s chief of staff, was with the congresswoman when a horde of president Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol building last Wednesday.

According to The Boston Globe, staffers in Pressley’s office barricaded the entrance with furniture and water jugs. Groh says she then pulled out gas masks and looked for the office’s special panic buttons.

“Every panic button in my office had been torn out — the whole unit,” she said. They were then escorted to several different secure locations, as they tried to remain calm. “I was deeply concerned,” Groh said, regarding the change in plans. “It felt like the heat was being turned up in terms of the rhetoric and Trump’s aims to incite violence.”

Pressley also appeared on Joy Reid’s MSNBC show, “The ReidOut,” in the Capitol riot’s aftermath. She says that the feeling of being unsafe is not new to her.

“So feeling unsafe is not new, and being a Black woman and feeling unsafe is not new,” she said. “The experiences of Wednesday were harrowing and unfortunately very familiar in the deepest and most ancestral way, and that includes for you know all Black Americans, all Black members, and certainly for our United States Capitol Police officers, who did have racial epithets thrown at them, who are doing everything that they could, putting their lives on the line to protect us.

“And so of course I’m fearful, but that fear is not new,” Pressley said.

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