Former Capitol Police Lt. Tarik K. Johnson said he was ordered to collect "20 to 30" helmets by his immediate supervisor, Capt. Ben Smith. Johnson said there was no explanation for the order, but he assumed the equipment was past its expiration date.
The collection was done within the two weeks prior to Jan. 6, most likely the week of Dec. 28, 2020, to Jan. 1, 2021, Johnson said.
"Now, did they tell me that the helmets were expired? Nobody told me that they were," Johnson said in an interview with The Epoch Times. "But if they were perfectly good helmets, why would you take them?"
After receiving a list of officers from Smith, Johnson said, he had sergeants announce the helmet collection at roll call. He said officers brought their helmets to his office.
Johnson said he first reported the helmet confiscation to the office of U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) during a meeting on Jan. 11, 2021.
Johnson said he served on Leahy's Capitol Police protective detail for more than two years. Leahy retired from the U.S. Senate in January after nearly 50 years in office.