GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — What struck C.K. Hoffler most about the riots at the nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6 was the lack of security and law enforcement, she said.
Hoffler used to live and work in D.C. as a lobbyist and lawyer. It’s where she earned her law degree. And, she remembers security getting tighter and tighter at the Capitol since 9/11.
However, on that Wednesday, Hoffler was appalled at what she saw, an angry mob illegally entering the Capitol, its rotunda and chambers, which forced congresspeople to evacuate and hide in an undisclosed location.
Hoffler called it an attempted coup d'état and domestic terrorism.
“They were there on a purpose. They were there on a mission. And the mission was to take over and to kill if necessary,” Hoffler said during an interview with FOX 17 on Tuesday. “So, when confronted with that and to see the lack of security measures, the lack of military, and to juxtapose that with what we had just seen when Black Lives Matter marched, by and large a peaceful march, protesting George Floyd and other senseless acts of violence against the African American community, it was just devastating, startling, shocking and sad.”
Hoffler, who’s the president of the National Bar Association, said it was one of the worst days in U.S. history in her lifetime. She believes all the supporters were united and motivated by their belief that the election was stolen.
However, she said there’s no proof of that.
“There were judges, officers of the court, many of them appointed by the Trump Administration, who sat in judgment, who looked at the evidence, who looked at the facts and dismissed the cases,” Hoffler said. “They found by and large throughout the country that there’s was no fraud in the election in Pennsylvania. No fraud in Wisconsin. No fraud in Georgia. No fraud in all of the places where there’s allegations of fraud.”
Hoffler said that the bar association and over 7,000 lawyers worked alongside grassroots organizations, fighting voter suppression and making sure people were registered to vote long before the presidential election in November and the Georgia Senate runoffs in January.
“There was so much disinformation out there. There were so many extraordinary organizations that went door to door in Georgia to voters to encourage people to register, to make sure they were registered. We checked their status. And, that is what made a difference,” Hoffler said. “The National Bar Association led litigation. As you know there was an allegation that over 197,000 Georgians were improperly or illegally purged from the polls.”
Hoffler, who’s the chair of the board for the Rainbow Push Coalition, said they worked tirelessly trying to restore the names to the polls alongside several prominent civil rights lawyers including Fred Gray, who was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Rosa Parks’s lawyer.
Hoffler added that the best path forward is to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore the original Voting Rights Act of 1965 and would ultimately provide voter protection for people of color and marginalized communities.
However, in the short term, she said those who illegally entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 need to be prosecuted.
“Just as we hold others accountable, we have to hold those who were accountable for those terrorists' acts in the chain of command, all of those involved, accountable to what happened,” Hoffler said. “That’s the only way that we can restore justice to this country.”