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Fire at homeless encampment prompted US Capitol lockdown, situation cleared

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Monday morning, the U.S. Capitol complex was forced to temporarily lock down due to an “external security threat,” Capitol Police (USCP) said, after reports of a fire a few blocks away from the Capitol at a homeless encampment under a bridge.

This scare comes as tension and fear grip Washington, D.C. following the January 6 attack on the Capitol by rioters and as the city is preparing for President-elect Joe Biden‘s Wednesday inauguration. The complex is currently under strict security protection by the National Guard, resembling a military zone.

MORE ON INAUGURATION: Up to 25,000 National Guard troops to be in D.C. on Inauguration Day

USCP has since lifted the shelter-in-place order, NBC News reported.

Shortly before 10:30 am (EST), an email alert from USCP was sent to lawmakers telling those indoors to “stay away from exterior windows and doors” and for those outdoors to “seek cover,” according to multiple outlets.

This lockdown occurred during a rehearsal of Biden’s inauguration, forcing individuals to leave the West Front and to seek refuge inside the Capitol for safety. In videos and pictures, smoke could be seen rising from behind the Capitol Building.

D.C. Fire and EMS announced just before 10:30 am that it “responded to an outside fire in the 100 block of H St SE that has been extinguished,” reporting no injuries.

The U.S. Secret Service announced at 10:50 am that “There is no threat to the public.”

Around 11 am, another USCP email alert was sent to lawmakers saying that “a small explosion occurred” under the bridge at First and F Streets SE but that “the incident has been contained,” according to multiple reports. Staff and personnel, however, “are directed to continue to avoid coming to the Capitol Complex area until further notice.”

Shortly after 11 am, D.C. Fire and EMS reported that the fire “involved a homeless tent beneath freeway” and that the tent’s occupant “indicated she was using propane.” This, the department noted, “may explain report of ‘explosion.'”

The department also reported that there was one person with a non-life threatening injury and no other injuries, saying that the same female occupant “declined transport to the hospital” and that they have asked the American Red Cross of the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region to “provide assistance.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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BLM co-founder used funds to pay sister, mother, brother and child’s father

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Released tax filings show just how Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors spent the millions of dollars raised from “White guilt.” She paid roughly $970,000 to the company of her child’s father to help “produce live events” and other “creative services.”

Over $840,000 was paid to her brother, Paul Cullors, for security services. Daily Mail wrote that “leaders have attempted to justify” the expenses to her brother by saying the “foundation’s protection could not be entrusted to former police professionals who typically run security firms because the BLM movement is known for vehemently protesting law enforcement organizations.”

It was recently disclosed that she bought a $6 million mansion in L.A. for the organization, and denied she took money from BLM for personal matters, although shortly after it was unearthed that she had used the mansion for her own parties.

Cullors also reportedly “reimbursed BLM $73,523 for a charter flight for foundation-related travel, which the organization says she took in 2021 out of concern for COVID-19 and security threats.”

Cullors resigned last year from the organization due to criticism of her finances, such as purchasing multiple homes for herself that cost millions of dollars combined. She also admitted the charity was paying for “employment” of her sister, mother, and brother.

Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation Inc revealed from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, it ended the fiscal year with nearly $42 million in net assets. “The foundation invested $32 million in stocks from the $90 million it received as donations amid racial justice protests in 2020” adds Daily Mail.

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