Capitol riots: What’s happening with arrests?


By Tara McKelvey
BBC White House reporter

FBI wanted poster seen in DC

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It’s been nearly a week since the Capitol Hill riot – so how much progress have law enforcement made with bringing the perpetrators to justice?

How many arrests so far?

Dozens of people have been charged with firearms-related crimes and other offences, like violent entry.

  • The Capitol police officer hailed as a ‘hero’

On Sunday, the Department of Justice announced the arrests of two men who were allegedly pictured bringing plastic restraints into the Capitol.

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Authorities say Eric Gavelek Munchel is the individual seen carrying a number of plastic zip ties inside the Senate chamber. He was detained in Tennessee. Larry Rendell Brock, who is accused of entering the Capitol with a white flex cuff – a restraining device used by law enforcement – was arrested in Texas.

So far, neither has been accused of plotting to use the restraints, but face disorderly conduct and violent entry charges.

The FBI is still seeking dozens more individuals and has asked the public to help identify and locate them.

What are law enforcement saying about progress?

FBI director Christopher Wray has condemned the actions of the people who attacked the Capitol and said that justice would be served.

“What took place that day was not First Amendment-protected activity, but rather an affront on our democracy,” he said.

“We will continue to aggressively investigate each and every individual who chose to ignore the law and instead incite violence, destroy property, and injure others.”

US Attorneys in Ohio, Minnesota, Kentucky and other states have also pledged to prosecute anyone who travelled from their regions to take part in the riot.

Who are the key people charged so far?

Analysis by BBC Disinformation Team

Jacob Anthony Chansley, known as Jake Angeli or as he describes himself the “Q Shaman”, is a well-known follower of the unfounded QAnon conspiracy theory who lives in Glendale, Arizona.

QAnon supporters believe President Trump and a secret military intelligence team are battling a deep state cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles in the Democratic Party, media, business and Hollywood.

Known for appearing with a painted face, fur hat and horns while carrying a “Q sent me” banner in public, Mr Chansley, 33, has been charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct after appearing in multiple images inside the halls of Congress and the Senate chamber.

His mother told a local ABC News station that Angeli has not eaten since Friday because the detention facility won’t serve him all organic food.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionJacob Anthony Chansley is alleged to be the man seen wearing horns and a fur hat in photographs, including this from inside the Senate chamber

In videos posted to his social media accounts, he shouts about child-trafficking in front of government buildings or inside shopping malls, and attends pro-Trump or QAnon-linked “save our children” rallies.

Like many of his fellow QAnon followers, Mr Chansley says he believes Covid-19 is a hoax.

President Trump – viewed as a hero by the movement – has stopped short of endorsing the conspiracy theory but has described QAnon activists as “people who love our country.”

Doug Jensen, 41, from De Moines, Iowa, appeared in one of the most widely shared videos of the riots.

Mr Jensen has been arrested in Florida and faces five federal charges, including violent entry and disorderly conduct and obstructing a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder.

In it, he can be seen chasing a police officer up a flight of stairs inside the Capitol wearing a shirt with the QAnon slogan “Trust the plan”.

Mr Jensen later identified himself on his Twitter account, tweeting: “You like my shirt?” and “Me…” under images of him inside the Capitol shared by fellow QAnon supporters.

On his Twitter, Mr Jensen regularly expresses support for President Trump, engages with well-known QAnon accounts, and tweets well-known QAnon phrases such as WWG1WGA – short for “where we go one we go all” – a rallying cry for the conspiracy’s adherents.

Nick Ochs was arrested at an airport in Honolulu, Hawaii, by the FBI, as he returned home from Washington DC.

He’s accused of unlawful entry of restricted buildings or grounds, after he posted a picture smoking a cigarette inside the Capitol building, tweeting: “Hello from the Capital lol”.

Mr Ochs describes himself as a “Proud Boy Elder from Hawaii”. The Proud Boys is an anti-immigrant and all male far-right group founded in 2016.

President Trump addressed this group specifically in the first presidential debate. In response to a question about white supremacists and militias he said: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.”

Richard Barnett is the man pictured with his feet on a desk in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. He was also pictured outside the Capitol with a personalised envelope he took from her office.

He’s been arrested for unlawful entry, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and theft of public money, property, or records.

image copyrightAFP

Mr Barnett is 60 years old and from Arkansas.

Local media reports say Mr Barnett is involved in a group that supports gun rights, and that he was interviewed at a “Stop the Steal” rally following the presidential election – the movement that supports President Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of election fraud.

Why can’t they find the man with the Confederate flag?

Dozens of people have been arrested or brought into custody. And yet one man remains at large, despite the fact that his photograph has ricocheted around the world.

In the picture, he is dressed in jeans and a black sweatshirt, and he is carrying a confederate flag. He appears to have a tattoo under one of his eyes, and the FBI has asked the public for help in finding him.

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Experts in law enforcement say the process can take time. He and other individuals who were photographed in the melee may not have a particularly big social circle, or the people they know may not be following the events closely. It is also possible that his friends have chosen to lay low and not tell law-enforcement officials that they recognise him in the picture.

As Northeastern University’s Max Abrahms, a political-science professor who studies counterterrorism, explains, it can take time to track down a suspect – for a variety of reasons.

“This could be an individual who doesn’t have a lot of friends or colleagues,” Abrahms says.

“It could also be that the people who know him are sympathetic to him. The people who know him – it could be that they have his back.”

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