Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Man accused of beating policeman in riot on Capitol Hill

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A far-right Proud Boys member and a man accused of beating a policeman are among the latest people arrested in connection with the deadly riots on Capitol Hill on January 6.

Federal prosecutors in Washington said on Wednesday they had arrested and would charge Patrick Edward McCaughey III with assaulting Constable Daniel Hodges, as well as disorderly conduct and entering the restricted grounds of the Capitol.

Michael Sherwin, the acting US lawyer in Washington, called Mr. Hodges’ attack “heinous and in essence anti-American.” Steven D’Antuono, of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said the “savage hits” demonstrated “a blatant disregard for human life.”

Mr Hodges’ beating was filmed and widely shared online. Mr Hodges then gave an interview to NBC in which he said: ‘If it wasn’t my job I would have done it for free, it was absolutely my pleasure to crush a white nationalist insurgency and I’m happy to be in a helping position. “

The FBI also said on Wednesday that its agents had arrested Proud boys member Joseph Randall Biggs in Florida for his role in the Capitol Breach. According to court documents, Mr. Biggs was posting messages on the social networking site Speak as early as December 2020 in which he outlined his intention to come to Washington on January 6.

According to an affidavit filed in connection with his arrest, Mr. Biggs was seen entering the Capitol in video footage broadcast live on Speak during the riot.

The affidavit stated that Mr. Biggs spoke with an FBI agent after January 6 and admitted to entering the Capitol, although he denied using force, saying the doors were “wide open” . He told the officer he did not know if the assault on Capitol Hill was planned in advance, according to the affidavit.

The arrests are among dozens that have been made from the crowd stormed the Capitol January 6th. Investigators combed through digital images, social media and other tips to identify participants in the assault.

They came in the midst of greatly enhanced security that had been in place in Washington since Joe Biden inauguration, with thousands of armed members of the National Guard in the streets and much of the city center closed to the public.

The National Mall which stretches from the Capitol building to the Lincoln Memorial is closed, a metal fence has been erected around the Capitol, and airports have increased security measures before the inauguration.

The Pentagon approved the deployment of 25,000 National Guard troops for the inauguration, as state capitals responded to an FBI warning of possible armed protests in the United States in the coming days.

Despite fears of further violence since the Jan.6 attack, there has been little unrest as security has been tightened around potential targets in Washington and across the country. Social media companies have also taken action to restrict communications from some of the most vocal supporters of electoral fraud plots accused of fueling riots, including Donald trump.

Concerns about guns prompted Facebook to ban ads promoting weapon accessories – extending the existing ban on ads for weapons – and protective gear “out of caution.”

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