A Southwest Florida man is sharing what he experienced at the nation's capital. Brendon Leslie admits he was among the trespassers who illegally entered the U.S. Capitol building as members of Congress voted to confirm Joe Biden's presidency. In full transparency, we debated whether to air his footage based on that admission. Ultimately, we believe his video and words provide a perspective of the chaos you wouldn't see otherwise.
Leslie and a group of over 100 President Trump supporters from Southwest Florida drove to Washington, D.C. to protest the Electoral College vote by Congress. He says the group began the day at President's Park as they listened to speeches from Rudy Guiliani and President Donald Trump.
"The President asked us, by no means was he looking for us to get violent, but he asked us to go to the capital and protest peacefully. Those were his exact words," says Leslie.
At that point, the group of peaceful protestors walked to the United States Capitol building. According to Leslie, the peaceful group quickly turned violent.
"It was a lot of bodies. Everyone shoulder to shoulder just pushing forward.
I got really close to the building they started breaking into the doors and breaking down windows and fighting with cops," says Leslie.
Leslie admits he was among that group who forced a lockdown at the capitol but he says he was inside only to document the chaos. He says the others in his original group from Southwest Florida were not involved. Once inside, he saw it was a mixed group of Trump supporters and dissenters who started the riots.
"I followed the crowd inside and it was a real mixed bag of people. You had rioters and you had peaceful protestors. The peaceful protestors just really wanted to occupy the building and not hurt anyone and not destroy anything," says Leslie.
He says the riots have opened his eyes and he believes its time for unity in the United States.
"I can see what kind of mission I have moving forward. Is to really focus more on unifying because obviously that is what this country needs right now," says Leslie.