BOISE, Idaho —
Pam Hemphill is one of 6 Idahoans the federal government has charged with being part of that insurrection storming the capitol on January 6, 2021.
The January 6 committee hearings will continue next Tuesday, July 12, the very same day Hemphill will surrender herself to the federal prison in Dublin, California to serve her 60-day sentence.
Hemphill is a self-proclaimed citizen journalist, meaning she likes to shoot a lot of videos and show them on social media. The kind of stuff news stations don't always have time to report, she said. She has been doing it for years, following around the likes of Ammon Bundy and the people's rights group.
When her family encouraged her to fly to D.C to join the Trump rally on January 6th, despite still recovering from breast cancer surgery, the 69-year-old said she thought, 'oh it will be fun.'
Which she said is how she found herself in the middle of an insurgent mob, not having a lot of fun.
Pam Hemphill: It was more about just wanting to be there and record what's going on, cause I wasn't sure about the stop the steal thing.
Brian Holmes: What do you mean you weren't sure about the stop the steal thing?
Hemphill: Well, there's no evidence, but everybody’s saying they did it. They stole the election, but I gotta see the proof.
Holmes: Who told you this?
Hemphill: Just rumor, just on Facebook and talking to people. They said, 'don't worry Pence has a way to keep him as president' I said, ‘oh, well how's that?'
Holmes: Even though there were so many other venues saying, that's not how this works?
Hemphill: Yeah, I'd heard that, but you didn't know who to listen to, still don't sometimes. I mean who's telling the truth here?
Holmes: On December 28, you posted something on Facebook ‘It's not going to be a fun Trump Rally that is planned for January 6th, it's a war! The fight for America is real, show up, I don't want to hear your excuses! We have no second chances, if millions and I mean millions show up we may have a chance. Find a way!’
Hemphill: Yeah, see I heard one time from a congressman that if one hundred people show up to a rally, they don't listen to you. But if you get millions, they will listen to you. And a war is just a political word, it sounds terrible.
Holmes: That's kind of what happened though.
Hemphill: Yeah, unfortunately. It's terrible. Yeah, in the morning it was nothing, just everybody walking around. There was a big, huge crowd. I couldn't get through because of my stitches, it would be too dangerous for me. So, I just walked around, and people started saying Trump was going to be at the capitol and I thought 'oh, I'll get a chance to meet him, I'll be first' so I could record him, you know. Then I got up front and there's a barrier and there's police officers, and then there was talking and within a minute [a man] starts pushing on the gate and pushing the officers, everybody. I fell and the police officers, they pulled me out of the crowd and put me behind them, so they saved my life that day and I just ran to another officer.
Holmes: Why not just leave?
Hemphill: I wanted to get video. That's pam. It's like bullets coming by, I'll stay there and shoot.
Holmes: From your evidence against you, there was a statement of fact that said, “pam also stated, ‘I think everybody would be happy if we got inside the Capitol and told them how they really felt. Because they're sick and tired of being sick and tired.’ In the same video, Hemphill can be heard telling one man in the crowd, "Let's do this, let's go to the Capitol. We did it in Boise.’"
Hemphill: I said we did this in Boise, and I should have said 'and they went too far.’
Holmes: ‘Let's do this, let's go to the capitol, we did it in Boise?’
Hemphill: Let's go to the capitol? Yeah, with permission, yes.
Holmes: You think all those people had permission, going through barriers, pushing past police officers, is that permission?
Holmes: But then you went inside.
Hemphill: No, what happened there was a police officer at the door. People were coming in and out, and I got this on video. I wanted to get close enough to ask him, 'is this legal, are people coming in and out with permission?' But there's people in front of me and they shoved me. That's when I asked an officer to help me get out because they had already trampled on me on the steps. I cut my knee, broke my glasses, stepped on my head, pulled out my shoulder. So, I asked them to take me out and he did, and that's what I got in trouble for, and I broke the law. I was on the other side, I didn't do it on purpose, it wasn't intent. But they were wrong, we were wrong, that was trespassing.
Holmes: What have you realized since January 6th?
Hemphill: That they're going the wrong direction
Holmes: Who's they?
Hemphill: The right, republicans, they're going the wrong direction.
Holmes: You're not going to jail; you're going to federal prison for 60 days. That's a big deal.
Hemphill: It's going to be hard.
Holmes: Because you wanted to shoot video?
Hemphill: Because I wanted to shoot video.
Holmes: But at the same time, you kind of swallowed the big lie.
Hemphill: I did. I went along with everything I'm hearing yeah. I paid a big price for this.
Holmes: Is there something somebody can learn from your story?
Hemphill: Really get with people who have the right knowledge about what's going on. Don't just listen to social media.
Hemphill told us she was headed in the wrong direction, thanks to following the teachings of Ammon Bundy and his people's rights group. She said she wishes she had surrounded herself with people she trusted, with better knowledge of what is really going on.
Hemphill said she leaves tomorrow and will drive herself to California, and she will continue to receive cancer treatment while she is in prison.
By the way, Hemphill said she has been watching the January 6th committee hearings and believes they are helpful to the country to get to the truth of how and why the attack on the capitol happened.
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