EXCLUSIVE: Minnesota vet facing 20 years in prison for holding shield on J6 speaks out

Aaron James, 38, is facing decades in prison for helping a dying woman on the U.S. Capitol steps on Jan. 6, 2021.

Aaron James spoke exclusively to Alpha News on the latest episode of Liz Collin Reports. (Alpha News)

A young veteran who served three tours of duty was forced from his Minnesota home during an early morning FBI raid. Aaron James, 38, is facing decades in prison for helping a dying woman on the U.S. Capitol steps on Jan. 6, 2021.

He spoke exclusively to Alpha News on the latest episode of Liz Collin Reports.

“It’s been difficult to say the least,” James said.

James, his two brothers and stepfather are all facing prison time in connection to Jan. 6. The family’s trial was initially scheduled for February, but the trial was delayed after they obtained new lawyers.

They next have a status update on April 30 which will determine when the trial will be held.

James’ mother, Rosemarie Westbury, spoke to Alpha News in January and decried what she described as America’s “two-tiered justice system.”

“We went there to go see President Trump. We went there to go see a sitting president … it was a pretty historic event. We also wanted to see Washington, D.C., and none of us had ever been there,” James told Alpha News.

He said as Trump spoke from The Ellipse , barriers and barricades were already being removed from the Capitol area, as detailed in a new documentary.

“I’d recommend going and checking that video because it really gives a nice timeline of what’s going on and actually what happened there,” James explained.

He said Trump called for the crowd to march peacefully to the Capitol to make their voices heard.

“As the American people, we’d seen many instances of irregularities where it would have been reasonable to send those back to the certification and have them look into some of those irregularities,” James said, explaining his distrust of the 2020 election results.

“It was frustrating for all of us to feel like we weren’t being heard as a people. So we did move to the Capitol and we were there protesting. When we arrived, they had already breached the Capitol. They were in there.”

Inside the Capitol

James said he was escorted into the Capitol by a police officer so he could be with his stepfather who had just been sprayed with mace.

“My stepfather, he was sprayed in the face with mace and he was escorted in and he was sat on one of the benches inside of the Capitol … I had seen him there and there was a large crowd that was in front of the door. It was so thick that I couldn’t push my way through, so I actually tapped on the arm of one of the Capitol police and asked the gentleman, ‘Can you please help me in here? Escort me in. My stepfather is right there.’ You can see him on that bench, and he’s been sprayed with mace. In the discovery, there is a video that shows me walking with the Capitol police officer up to my stepfather. That was my entrance into the Capitol,” James explained.

James and his brother, Isaac, pictured outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. (Photo provided to Alpha News)

A short time later, his stepfather, Bob, and his brother, Jonah, returned to their hotel room while he and his other brother, Isaac, remained at the Capitol.

Rosanne Boyland

James said there were thousands of people gathered around the Capitol at this point, describing the massive crowd as a “wave just kind of pushing you along.”

“We’re up on the right side. We were pigeonholed and pushed into this area between a handrail and the wall next to the tunnel and I started hearing somebody yell, ‘Medic!’ I saw a woman who was being dragged with her stomach exposed … people started performing CPR on her. My initial reaction was to push through there and help them out with the CPR,” James commented.

“My background is as a United States Navy corpsman … so I was basically a combat medic. I was trained to be a field medic with the Marine Corps. I was attached to the 3rd Marines out of Hawaii for five years. I’ve done two combat deployments to Iraq, one to Afghanistan, then I did a joint special operations mission in the Philippines, attached to SEAL Team 5, again, as a corpsman, so as a combat medic,” he added.

He would later learn the woman was Rosanne Boyland, who died that day.

James noticed there was so much mace in the air that it looked like “a waterfall.”

“It was hitting the people who were performing the life-saving measures on Rosanne Boyland. So my thought was, how can I provide them some type of reprieve from this mace? So I picked up a shield from the ground, slapped it in my brother’s hand, pushed him out into right in front of the tunnel so he could block the mace from hitting the people who were performing CPR. I grabbed the shield from the ground myself, and there are multiple videos that show just shields being thrown around. They’re everywhere. So I actually picked one up,” James said.

James and his brother, Isaac, pictured holding shields outside of a tunnel to the Capitol. (Photo provided to Alpha News)

As pictured, the brothers held the shields and stood there for a few minutes, James said. He then walked down to the reflecting pool, washed off his face, and returned to the hotel with his brother.

“We all got back and were hanging out as a family eating pizza and at no point did we think that we had committed felonies for doing that. At no point,” he said.

James is facing 20 years in prison, charged with nine felonies.

“I was in shock, just in utter shock. I didn’t have any idea like what the felonies were. At first, I thought it was just for entering the Capitol, but that was only picketing, parading and demonstrating in a restricted space. So, that was a misdemeanor … it just blows my mind.”

There were two FBI raids at the family’s homes in Lindstrom; one was recorded by a neighbor.

“People ask me if I have animosity towards the military or towards the government. It isn’t the government that I have animosity towards. It’s those who I believe are abusing their power. I joined the military to protect the people, our country, and our constitutional republic. That’s what’s number one for me. The people, the country, and the constitutional republic. It doesn’t matter who’s in office and who’s abusing that power on any side. I joined (the military) for those reasons and I would do it again today to be honest with you,” James said.

A fundraiser has been launched to help the family with their legal expenses.



Liz Collin

Liz Collin has been a truth-teller for 20 years as a multi-Emmy-Award-winning reporter and anchor. Liz is a Worthington, Minnesota native who lives in the suburbs with her husband, son and loyal lab.