Some of the employees of the Hart Senate Office Building branch of the U.S. Senate Federal Credit Union watched money rain from above, in the atrium outside their first-floor office Thursday afternoon.
“At first I thought it was play money,” said Felipe Ramirez, who saw a woman lying on the floor of the building’s atrium, covering herself with one-dollar bills as he returned from his lunch break shortly after 12:30 p.m. A man was with her, there was an open suitcase overflowing with bills, and another female was dumping more money from a balcony a few floors above, he said.
Bayphone Singhavong encountered the commotion around 1:05 p.m., also on his way back from lunch.
Singhavong bent down and tried to grab a few bills from the floor, thinking, “I might get free breakfast for tomorrow,” he said. By that time, Capitol Police were all over the scene, sweeping up the money and beginning to make arrests.
He dropped his riches when an officer told him to put the money down, he said.
Capitol Police arrested three demonstrators — Elisheva Shalom, Elizabeth Croydon and Adam Eidinger — shortly after 1 p.m., according to Lt. Kimberly Schneider, a public information officer for the department.
They were charged with “crowding, obstructing and incommoding,” and taken to the processing facility at Capitol Police Headquarters, at 119 D St. NE.
“The money is real and as part of the demonstration is evidence,” Schneider said in a statement. She did not know the amount.
Ramirez, who works with bills all day, estimated he saw “at least a thousand.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.