Last Updated on February 13, 2022
The beating of an unconscious Trump supporter by a DC Metropolitan Police Department officer on January 6 was deemed to be “objectively reasonable” after an investigation by the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau. Rosanne Boyland, 34 of Kennesaw, Georgia, died on January 6 after tear gas was deployed against protesters, which led to a stampede. Boyland then lost consciousness in the melee and was beaten with a metal rod by Capitol Police officer Lila Morris. The story was first reported by The Epoch Times.
The Internal Affairs investigation was opened in September 2021 after a witness filed a complaint. Gary McBride of Decatur, Texas, compiled video evidence of the officer striking an unconscious Rosanne Boyland with a steel baton and a large wooden stick at the entrance to the West Terrace tunnel at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The attack horrified McBride and prompted him to file a police brutality complaint with the department.
According to witnesses, Boyland was pinned by a group of protesters after police deployed tear gas. After being crushed for several minutes, Boyland lost consciousness. As Boyland lay unconscious on the ground, DC Metro Police Officer Lila Morris repeatedly struck her with a steel baton and what appeared to be a wooden walking stick, according to a video recording.
Justin Winchell, who traveled to DC with Boyland that day, pleaded with officers to stop.“She’s gonna die! She’s gonna die! …I need somebody! She’s dead!” Winchell exclaimed. From The Epoch Times:
Boyland was not pronounced dead until more than 90 minutes later, although she appeared lifeless when police dragged her body from the West Terrace tunnel entrance into the Capitol at 4:31 p.m.
Protesters attempted CPR on Boyland for several minutes after she fell. As this was happening, police officers continued to club protesters and deploy pepper spray against them. Testimony before a Congressional committee suggested police attempted CPR at 4:26 p.m., which wasn’t possible since at that time Boyland still lay on the concrete outside, being given CPR by protesters Jake Lang and Ronald McAbee.
The DC medical examiner later said Boyland died of an accidental overdose of Adderall, a ruling that Boyland’s friends and family have vehemently objected to. Her father, Bret Boyland, said Rosanne had been taking Adderall for about 10 years.
McBride went back and forth with various Metropolitan Police Department officials over more than two months before being told via email on November 15 that Morris had been cleared of any wrongdoing. “The use of force within this investigation was determined to be objectively reasonable,” wrote Capt. David K. Augustine, director of the Risk Management Division of the MPD Internal Affairs Bureau. “Officer Morris is still employed with the MPD and not facing criminal charges related to the use of force on January 6.”
McBride was stunned by the ruling. “It told me right there that it’s OK for them to do what they do. They are doing exactly what they want to do. They don’t care if you know or see,” McBride told The Epoch Times. “They just showed me that they’re going to go beat somebody and kill them, but they have the power to say, ‘That was objectively reasonable.’ And we’re supposed to accept that and say, ‘Okay.’”
Officer Morris, who had just reached the front line in the West Terrace tunnel, is seen on bodycam video picking up what appears to be a walking stick or a tree branch. She raised the weapon over her head with both hands and struck Boyland at least four times in rapid succession. The stick broke at one point. Morris continued to strike at Boyland until other officers pulled her back. Morris was hailed as a hero for her efforts and was featured as a guest of honor at last year’s Super Bowl.
McBride sent two videos to the DC Metro police as part of his complaint. Meanwhile, Bret Boyland asked the Metropolitan Police Department for copies of bodycam video from various police officers in the terrace tunnel. That request was denied.
“Wednesday was nine months from our daughter’s passing and we still have many unanswered questions to what happened to her that day,” Bret Boyland wrote in a Freedom of Information Act request in fall 2021. The Epoch Times also made a FOIA request for Officer Morris’ bodycam footage for her entire shift on Jan. 6, 2021. That request was denied, but for different reasons than those given to Bret Boyland. The department cited privacy grounds for denying the newspaper’s request.
Boyland’s death is yet another example of disturbing conduct from police officers in response to the January 6 protests. Previous videos have revealed that the crowd was peacefully protesting outside the Capitol Building before police deployed tear gas and flashbang grenades, sparking chaos. Other footage has shown protesters peacefully filing into the building after being let in by Capitol Police. At one point, a police officer can be seen aiming a semiautomatic rifle at protesters.
As National File previously reported, much of the violence on January 6 appeared to be caused by the death of Kevin Greeson of Alabama, who suffered a fatal heart attack. Video footage obtained by comedian Tyler Baggins shows protesters peacefully standing by the building while singing “God Bless The USA” before Capitol police opened up with flashbangs and tear gas. An unidentified man with a bullhorn can be heard urging the increasingly incensed crowd forward as they attempted CPR on Greeson. The likely federal asset has been seen encouraging violence in numerous January 6 videos, as has likely FBI informant Ray Epps.