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US Capitol Hill rioters could face ‘strong punishments’ as more arrests made

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US Capitol siege rioters could face 'strong punishments' as more arrests made

A man whose image went viral during the US Capitol siege was arrested on Saturday, US officials confirmed, as the country’s security forces continued to bring criminal charges against the suspected rioters.

Jacob Chansley, who wore a horned helmet and carried a spear inside the Capitol building, and is a supporter of the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory, was charged with “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.”

He was brought in on Saturday after making contact with the FBI two days earlier to voluntarily speak to law enforcement. “Chansley said that he came as part of a group effort with other ‘patriots’ from Arizona, at the request of the President that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021,” the Department of Justice said in a release.

Adam Johnson, 36, from Florida was also arrested on Friday after he was photographed waving at the camera while walking off with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern. People took to Twitter to share his mugshots after several charges were leveled against him, including theft of government property.

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Ken Kohl, a federal prosecutor with the Washington US attorney’s office, said authorities did not expect to charge anyone with “incitement” or “insurrection” stemming from Wednesday’s violence. Most of these individuals were charged with illegal entry into restricted buildings of Congress and violent or disorderly conduct.

They were also charged with impeding government functions as the violence delayed the confirmation of the electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election, which was won by Democratic Party candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.

“The lawless destruction of the US Capitol building was an attack against one of our nation’s greatest institutions,” said acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin in a statement.

“Just because you’ve left the DC region, you can still expect a knock on the door if we find out you were part of the criminal activity at the Capitol,” said Steven D’Antuono, FBI Washington Field Office’s assistant director in charge.

Among the others who were charged was West Virginia state lawmaker Derrick Evans, who livestreamed himself within the Capitol building. US media reported Evans had been taken into custody.

John Bryan, an attorney for Evans, said in a statement that his client “engaged in no violence, no rioting, no destruction of property, and no illegal behavior.”

Richard Barnett, who was photographed in Nancy Pelosi’s office, and later showed a letter that he took off her desk, was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in restricted grounds without authority, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and theft of public property or records. If convicted, he could see up to one year in federal prison.

Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said images of Barnett with his boots on Pelosi’s desk were “repulsive.” He added, “those who are proven to have committed criminal acts during the storming of the Capitol will face justice.”

Also facing charges was Lonnie Coffman of Alabama, who parked a truck near the Capitol that contained 11 Molotov cocktails and firearms.

Kohl said the charges announced on Friday were on the federal level and could carry a strong punishment, DW said.

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