Individuals Involved in U.S. Capitol Breach Facing Multiple Criminal Charges
On January 6, 2021, a group of Americans stormed the U.S. Capitol building. Splashed across newspapers, websites and social media, photos cataloged their assault on the Capitol. By the end of the day, four people died, with a fifth (a Capitol Police officer) succumbing to his injuries in the days following. Three of those who died had medical emergencies during the breach, with medical assistance unable to reach them. A Capitol Police officer shot and killed a woman from California in the chaos.
Since January 6, countless Capitol Hill police have resigned, and a few officers committed suicide. Currently, U.S. Senate Republicans and Democrats are debating the need for an independent commission to probe the attack on the Capitol, while the U.S. House voted to approve a commission on May 19.
But what about those who participated in the assault on the U.S. Capitol?
To date, there are at least 440 people facing charges for their roles in the U.S. Capitol breach. The Department of Justice (DOJ) expects federal prosecutors to file charges against 100 more. Reports show that the majority of those involved are men, and around 57 of those charged are women. Many were arrested because of the evidence found on their personal social media channels and other social media accounts. People came from 44 states and the District of Columbia. The average age of those tied to the U.S. Capitol seige is 39 years old.
On the day of the breach, Capitol Police detained and arrested more than a dozen people. The D.C. police also apprehended approximately 70 people that day. As other rioters left the Capitol and headed for home, the FBI and Department of Justice began tracking and investigating them.
Since then, U.S attorneys, the DOJ and law enforcement agencies have been arresting people alleged to be involved in the breach across the country. More than 125 defendants have been charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers or employees. In addition, of those 125 more than 34 of those were also charged with using deadly or dangerous weapons to do so. Approximately, 140 officers were assaulted and injured during the attack.
While more than 350 people have been charged with entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds of the U.S. Capitol building, more than 35 are charged with entering the Capitol with a dangerous or deadly weapon.
In March, prosecutors filed conspiracy charges against approximately 30 people. The Justice Department alleges that the attack was discussed and planned before and during the attack on the Capitol. Evidence tied to these charges includes emails, text messages and meetings.
After more than 25 defendants were charged with destruction of government property – a statute that if the damage to the property is more than $100, the defendant could find themselves fined $250,000, or facing ten years in prison, or both. Of this group, three of those charged displayed actions that amounted to terrorism. While they were not actually charged with terrorism, this designation could influence their prison sentence if convicted.
Between January 6 and March, more than 270,000 digital media tips were sent to the FBI regarding the attack. FBI Director Christopher Wray shared that the public has been helpful, leading to hundreds of investigations. Fifty-five of the FBI’s 56 field offices conducted investigations which led to the arrests of many of the individuals allegedly involved in this attack.
Even though hundreds have been charged for their roles in the U.S. Capitol insurrection, the FBI continues to investigate. They are working with federal, state and local law enforcement partners to seek out all suspects who may have played a role in the planning or execution of the U.S. Capitol assault on January 6. The FBI is still seeking the public’s assistance to help identify members of the wanted list.