Dozens of people have already been arrested and prosecutors across the US have vowed to bring to justice those who stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday, sending lawmakers into hiding as they began their work to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Two men in high-profile photos from the events — one wearing a horned, fur hat and the other carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern — were charged Saturday, the latest arrests in Wednesday’s mayhem that left five people dead.
The arrests come as more images emerge showing just how violent the riots were: a bloodied officer crushed in a doorway screaming; another tumbling over a railing into the crowd below after being body-slammed from behind; members of the media being cursed, shoved and punched.
Jacob Anthony Chansley, an Arizona man seen in photos and video of the mob with a painted face and wearing a costume that included the horned hat, was taken into custody Saturday and charged with counts that include violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Chansley, more commonly known as Jake Angeli, will remain in custody in Arizona pending a detention hearing that will be scheduled during an initial court appearance early in the coming week, Assistant US Attorney Esther Winne told The Associated Press by email. Chansley did not immediately respond to messages left via email and telephone.
Chansley, who had become a staple in his costume at pro-Trump protests across the country, is now among dozens of people arrested in the wake of the Capitol invasion by a large mob of Trump supporters enraged over his election loss.
The rioters took over the House and Senate chambers, smashed windows and waved Trump, American and Confederate flags, forcing lawmakers to halt their voting to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and go into hiding for hours.
A Florida man accused of making off with Pelosi’s lectern during the chaos was arrested Friday night on a federal warrant and was being held Saturday without bail in Pinellas County, Florida. Jail records do not show if Adam Johnson, 36, of Parrish, Florida, has an attorney.
Johnnson was charged Saturday with theft, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
The married father of five who was quickly identified on social media by local residents as the man in a photo smiling as he walked through the Capitol rotunda carrying Pelosi’s lectern, The Bradenton Herald reported.
Before being deleted or taken down, Johnson posted on social media that he was in Washington, DC, during Wednesday’s riot and included disparaging comments about the Black Lives Matter movement, according to The Bradenton Herald.
By Saturday, prosecutors had filed 17 cases in federal district court and 40 others in the District of Columbia Superior Court for a variety of offenses ranging from assaulting police officers to entering restricted areas of the US Capitol, stealing federal property and threatening lawmakers.
Prosecutors said additional cases remained under seal, dozens of other people were being sought by federal agents and the US attorney in Washington vowed Friday that “all options were on the table” for charges, including possibly sedition.
Other notable arrests in the Capitol invasion include:
— Doug Jensen, an Iowa man, was jailed early Saturday on federal charges, including trespassing and disorderly conduct counts, for his alleged role in the Capitol riot. Jensen, 41, of Des Moines, was being held without bond at the Polk County Jail and county sheriff’s Sgt. Ryan Evans said he didn’t know if Jensen had an attorney. Video posted online during the storming of the Capitol showed a man who appears to be Jensen, who is white, pursuing a Black officer up an interior flight of stairs as a mob of people trails several steps behind. At several points, the officer says “get back,” to no avail.
This is HORRIFIC to watch pic.twitter.com/AToUyANEY7
— Janey Godley (@JaneyGodley) January 6, 2021
— Richard Barnett, an Arkansas man who was shown in a widely seen photo sitting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office with his boots on a desk after the storming of the Capitol, was arrested Friday by the FBI. Barnett, 60, turned himself in to FBI agents at the Benton County Sheriff’s Office in Bentonville, Arkansas.
He is jailed in the Washington County Detention Center in nearby Fayetteville, Arkansas, without bond pending an initial court appearance, FBI Little Rock spokesman Connor Hagan said. No attorney is listed in online jail records for the Gravette, Arkansas, man.
From his feet on Nancy Pelosi's desk to an Arkansas jail. Here's a mug shot of Richard Barnett, who was arrested this morning and is now facing federal charges pic.twitter.com/rpSJ3BvyAm
— Reena Roy (@reenaroy) January 8, 2021
— Derrick Evans, a West Virginia state lawmaker who posted videos online showing himself pushing his way inside the Capitol, was arrested Friday by the FBI at his home and charged with entering restricted federal property. Evans, who faced bipartisan calls for him to step down, submitted a letter of resignation Saturday to West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and apologized for his actions. Evans faces charges that he entered a restricted area of the US Capitol after he livestreamed himself rushing into the building with a horde of rampaging Trump supporters as Congress was in session to certify the Electoral College vote. In the videos, Evans is seen fist bumping a police officer and then milling around the rotunda as he shouted, “Our house!”
WV Delegate Derrick Evans, who live streamed himself breaking into the Capitol and posted it on the internet, is among those being charged. This is him: pic.twitter.com/CUzjQd6ZrI
— Sara B. (@sara_bee) January 8, 2021
US attorneys in several states, including Kentucky, Ohio and Oregon, said people could face charges in their home states if they traveled to Washington and took part in the riot. The FBI has released photos of people inside the Capitol, urging the public to help identify them.
Capitol Police arrested just more than a dozen people the day of the breach while DC police arrested around 70. Many people freely left the Capitol, which means investigators now have to work to identify them and track them down. Authorities have to distinguish between those who traveled to Washington only to participate in the rally before the riot versus those who were part of the insurrection at the Capitol. It can take weeks for investigators to go through photos and video, identify suspects, interview witnesses and write a complaint to secure an arrest.
Those who’ve been charged so far could also lead investigators to others who joined in the violent siege on Capitol Hill.
Michael Sherwin, acting US attorney for the District of Columbia, said this week that prosecutors are not keeping anything out of their “ arsenal for potential charges.” As prosecutors gather more evidence, they can add more charges against those they’ve already arrested.
Experts say federal prosecutors could bring rarely used seditious conspiracy charges against some of the rioters. In the wake of protests across the U.S. over police brutality this summer, then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen told prosecutors in September that they should consider using the sedition charge, which calls for up to 20 years in prison, against violent demonstrators.
Rosen, who took over the top Department of Justice job when Attorney General William Barr stepped down last month, said the charge does not require proof of a plot to overthrow the US government and gave the hypothetical example of a group that “has conspired to take a federal courthouse or other federal property by force.”
Trump urged the crowd to march on the Capitol, even promising to go with them, though he didn’t in the end. The president told his supporters to “fight” to stop the “steal” of the election, while his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, called for “trial by combat.”
But the legal bar for charging the president or any other speakers at the rally with inciting violence is high. Experts say it would be tough to prove that the president intended for violence to happen on Capitol Hill. Trump’s speech likely would not be considered illegally inciting violence because he didn’t specifically call for people to storm the Capitol, experts say.
But Trump faces an impeachment effort that is gathering steam. Democrats plan to introduce articles of impeachment against Trump in the House of Representatives on Monday.
Meanwhile outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has informed senators that a potential trial in the Senate following impeachment in the House is unlikely to begin before Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
Democrats will gain a razor-thin majority in the Senate on January 22, but impeaching a president in the Senate requires a two-thirds majority.