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Man threatened with murder of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, officials say

A Trump supporter who stormed the Capitol on January 6 threatened on social media to assassinate Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that day and also threatened the Capitol Police officer who killed a woman as she tried to enter the building, federal prosecutors said.

The man, Garret Miller, 34, of Richardson, Texas, was arrested Wednesday and charged with, among other things, threats, knowingly entering a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct on the streets. Capitol grounds, according to a criminal complaint.

Surveillance video from inside the Capitol, a selfie and video posted by Mr Miller and comments he made on social media showed he was part of a mob that had pushed police to entering the Capitol, disrupting Congress as it certified President Donald J. Trump’s loss to Joseph R. Biden Jr., the complaint says.

Credit…United States District Court for the District of Columbia

In one instance, Mr Miller posted a photo of himself inside the Capitol, the complaint says, prompting someone on Facebook to comment, “Brother, are you in ?! Nice! “Mr. Miller replied,” I just wanted to self-incriminate a little lol. “

Mr. Miller also threatened Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, after she wrote “Impeach” on Twitter on Jan.6, the complaint says. Mr Miller responded with his own tweet which read, “Assassinate AOC,” the FBI said.

In another tweet to Ms Ocasio-Cortez, Mr Miller said that “we have acted with honor”, “we were not armed” and we were “nice to the police,” the FBI said.

The criminal complaint included screenshots of Mr Miller’s tweets.

Prosecutors said Mr Miller also threatened the Capitol Police officer who shot dead Ashli ​​Babbitt, a Trump supporter, as she poked her head through the frame of a shattered window leading to the lobby Of the president.

Mr Miller referred to Ms Babbitt as his ‘sister in combat’ and, referring to the officer who shot her, said he would ‘tighten her neck with a nice rope’, according to messages he received. written on social networks, indicates the complaint.

Writing on Facebook on Jan. 16, Miller said the officer “was not going to survive long,” and claimed that “millions” of people agreed with him that the officer deserved ” to die ”, according to the complaint.

A man who answered the phone at a number listed for Mr. Miller said, “We have no comment at this time.”

Mr Miller’s attorney, F. Clinton Broden, said that “his client’s comments on social media reflect very thoughtless political hyperbole in very divided times and will certainly not happen again in the future.”

“He accepts responsibility for his actions,” he said.

He said Miller had yet to be invited to plead and his detention hearing was set for Monday.

“Mr. Miller regrets his actions in a misguided effort to show his support for former President Trump,” Mr. Broden said. “He enjoys the full support of his family and has always been a respectful citizen laws.

A spokeswoman for Ms Ocasio-Cortez did not immediately respond to a message on Saturday night. Ms Ocasio-Cortez has previously said that she often receives death threats.

She called the Capitol siege an “extremely traumatic event” and said many members of Congress had “almost and narrowly escaped death” that day.

Seamus Hughes contribution to reports.

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Man accused of beating officer with hockey stick in Capitol riot arrested

WASHINGTON – Federal authorities in Michigan have arrested a man on suspicion of using a hockey stick to repeatedly beat police officers during the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill – including beating one who had already fallen to the ground.

Like others who have been arrested in connection with the riots, the man, Michael Joseph Foy, has been charged with obstructing parliamentary proceedings and illegally entering a restricted-access building. But he also faces additional and more serious charges, including the forcible assault of a federal officer, making him the latest of a growing number of suspects accused of assaulting police officers.

According to an FBI affidavit released Thursday, investigators have identified numerous social media riot videos and photographs in which Mr. Foy appeared, including footage of violence against police compiled and published by The New York Times .

Another video, posted on YouTube, appears to show Mr. Foy “lifting the stick over his head and quickly swinging it down, hitting an individual to the ground multiple times,” the affidavit states. “At no point does it appear that the individual on the ground is acting aggressively, nor does it appear that the attack was ‘justified’.

The victim – apparently a police officer – has not been identified in the court file.

The FBI identified Mr. Foy using posts on his father’s Facebook page; among other things, his father wrote, discussing a photo of his son during the riot, “he was better brought up,” according to the affidavit. Other messages about Mr. Foy cited in the complaint indicate that he is a former member of the Marine Corps.

Mr. Foy is one of the many people arrested in recent days and accused of assaulting police officers during filmed assaults. Prosecutors this week charged Connecticut man Patrick E. McCaughey with trapping police officer Daniel Hodges behind a riot shield as a mob pressed against him. In a widely viewed video of the incident, Constable Hodges screamed for help in pain until he was finally brought to safety.

On Tuesday, the FBI accused Mathew Capsel, whose condition has not been identified in an affidavit, of being a tattooed rioter seen in a video fighting against National Guards until he was sprayed with pepper. The video, posted on TikTok, depicts him “charging against an aligned group” of guards and “running in their protective shields,” the affidavit reads.

A man who surrendered to authorities on Monday, Emanuel Jackson, faces five federal charges, including assaulting an officer with a deadly weapon. He is accused of being the person who, in a video, is seen “punching and repeatedly hitting” a policeman who was trying to hold back a crowd that was coming through the windows and doors of the Capitol in start of the riot, according to a complaint. Two hours later, he says, he was caught on video using a metal baseball bat to hit a row of officers holding plexiglass shields.

A law enforcement affidavit filed against another indicted man this week, Vitali Gossjankowski of Florida, suggests he may have used a Taser on a police officer who suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized, but didn’t was not directly accused of the assault.

The affidavit stated that a person who looked like Mr. Gossjankowski was caught on camera activating a Taser and walking towards a location where the officer had been knocked repeatedly in the neck. Mr. Gossjankowski, said the affidavit, admitted that he had had a Taser, but claimed he had just found it and had not used it to attack the officer, saying that “if he did was touching, he was touching his helmet and it was just to help him. “

Authorities in Texas arrested Ryan Taylor Nichols on Monday, accusing him of being a rioter on camera taking a red pepper spray canister and using it on a federal law enforcement officer attempting to ‘prevent crowds from entering the Capitol.

And last week, Arkansas’ Peter Francis Stager was charged with obstructing law enforcement officials after officials identified him as the person waving a pole with an American flag attached to ” repeatedly hit “an officer who” remained inclined “on the steps of the Capitol. , according to a criminal complaint. The episode was widely seen on social media videos.

“Everyone in there is a traitorous traitor,” Mr. Stager said in an apparent reference to Capitol Hill, according to a video obtained by the FBI. “Death is the only cure for what’s in this building.

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Man accused of beating officer with hockey stick in Capitol riot arrested

WASHINGTON – Federal authorities in Michigan have arrested a man on suspicion of using a hockey stick to repeatedly beat police officers during the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill – including beating one who had already fallen to the ground.

Like others who have been arrested in connection with the riots, the man, Michael Joseph Foy, has been charged with obstructing parliamentary proceedings and illegally entering a restricted-access building. But he also faces additional and more serious charges, including the forcible assault of a federal officer, making him the latest of a growing number of suspects accused of assaulting police officers.

According to an FBI affidavit released Thursday, investigators have identified numerous social media riot videos and photographs in which Mr. Foy appeared, including footage of violence against police compiled and published by The New York Times .

Another video, posted on YouTube, appears to show Mr. Foy “lifting the stick over his head and quickly swinging it down, hitting an individual to the ground multiple times,” the affidavit states. “At no point does it appear that the individual on the ground is acting aggressively, nor does it appear that the attack was ‘justified’.

The victim – apparently a police officer – has not been identified in the court file.

The FBI identified Mr. Foy using posts on his father’s Facebook page; among other things, his father wrote, discussing a photo of his son during the riot, “he was better brought up,” according to the affidavit. Other messages about Mr. Foy cited in the complaint indicate that he is a former member of the Marine Corps.

Mr. Foy is one of the many people arrested in recent days and accused of assaulting police officers during filmed assaults. Prosecutors this week charged Connecticut man Patrick E. McCaughey with trapping police officer Daniel Hodges behind a riot shield as a mob pressed against him. In a widely viewed video of the incident, Constable Hodges screamed for help in pain until he was finally brought to safety.

On Tuesday, the FBI accused Mathew Capsel, whose condition has not been identified in an affidavit, of being a tattooed rioter seen in a video fighting against National Guards until he was sprayed with pepper. The video, posted on TikTok, depicts him “charging against an aligned group” of guards and “running in their protective shields,” the affidavit reads.

A man who surrendered to authorities on Monday, Emanuel Jackson, faces five federal charges, including assaulting an officer with a deadly weapon. He is accused of being the person who, in a video, is seen “punching and repeatedly hitting” a policeman who was trying to hold back a crowd that was coming through the windows and doors of the Capitol in start of the riot, according to a complaint. Two hours later, he says, he was caught on video using a metal baseball bat to hit a row of officers holding plexiglass shields.

A law enforcement affidavit filed against another indicted man this week, Vitali Gossjankowski of Florida, suggests he may have used a Taser on a police officer who suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized, but didn’t was not directly accused of the assault.

The affidavit stated that a person who looked like Mr. Gossjankowski was caught on camera activating a Taser and walking towards a location where the officer had been knocked repeatedly in the neck. Mr. Gossjankowski, said the affidavit, admitted that he had had a Taser, but claimed he had just found it and had not used it to attack the officer, saying that “if he did was touching, he was touching his helmet and it was just to help him. “

Authorities in Texas arrested Ryan Taylor Nichols on Monday, accusing him of being a rioter on camera taking a red pepper spray canister and using it on a federal law enforcement officer attempting to ‘prevent crowds from entering the Capitol.

And last week, Arkansas’ Peter Francis Stager was charged with obstructing law enforcement officials after officials identified him as the person waving a pole with an American flag attached to ” repeatedly hit “an officer who” remained inclined “on the steps of the Capitol. , according to a criminal complaint. The episode was widely seen on social media videos.

“Everyone in there is a traitorous traitor,” Mr. Stager said in an apparent reference to Capitol Hill, according to a video obtained by the FBI. “Death is the only cure for what’s in this building.

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As President Biden delivered his inaugural address, a man in uniform paid tribute to his son Beau.

A man in uniform knelt at the grave of President Biden’s son Beau on Wednesday during the president’s inaugural address, a touching and seemingly private moment away from the pomp of Washington that then garnered widespread attention online.

The unidentified man was observed by a local reporter in St. Joseph’s on the cemetery of Brandywine Church in Greenville, Del., Near the president’s home in Wilmington.

Beau Biden was Delaware’s attorney general for eight years before he died of brain cancer in 2015. He was 46 years old.

The man bowed his head before and after the speech and threw up his hands, reported reporter Patricia Talorico of the Delaware News Journal.

Ms Talorico said she did not approach the man out of respect.

“The image brought tears to my eyes,” Ms. Talorico wrote of the tribute. “I couldn’t bring myself to interrupt this poignant and solemn moment. I took pictures from a distance and parked my car on a nearby road. I listened to the end of Biden’s speech and went back to see if the person was still there. It was. And he was still on his knees, his head bowed.

The tribute came a day after Mr Biden, saying his farewell in Delaware, said Beau, a Bronze Star recipient who served as a major in the Judge Advocate General’s corps, should have become president.

“I only have one regret – that he is not here,” Biden said. “Because we should present him as president.”

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Man arrested at Washington checkpoint with a gun and 500 rounds, police say.

U.S. Capitol Police arrested a man on Friday after arriving at a security checkpoint in Washington with an unregistered handgun and more than 500 rounds, according to a report from the city’s Metropolitan Police Department.

The man, Wesley A. Beeler, of Front Royal, Va., Has been charged with five felonies, including illegal possession of a weapon and ammunition, according to the report.

Mr Beeler had gone to a security checkpoint on E Street NE in Washington, where officers discovered he had a Glock pistol, 509 rounds for the pistol and 21 rounds for a shotgun, according to the report. . This street leads into an area a few blocks from the United States Capitol Police Headquarters and the Capitol itself.

A spokeswoman for the Capitol Police did not immediately respond to inquiries about the arrest, and officials from the Metropolitan Police Department declined to comment beyond the release of the report because police in the Capitol. Capitol was the arresting agency. Mr. Beeler could not be reached immediately.

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Life sentence for white man who stabbed black student to death in Maryland

A 25-year-old white man who stabbed a black student to death during a chance encounter on the University of Maryland main campus in 2017 in what prosecutors called a racially motivated hate crime was convicted on Thursday to life imprisonment.

The man, Sean C. Urbanski, was convicted in December 2019 by a jury in Prince George County, Maryland, of first degree murder in the death of Richard W. Collins III.

Mr Collins, 23, was days away from graduating from nearby Bowie State University and had recently been appointed a second lieutenant in the military. He was preparing to move to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., to train to defend the country from chemical attack.

“He was about to do great things,” Dawn Collins, Mr Collins’ mother, said at a press conference Thursday after the sentencing.

The 2017 meeting between the men was brief and violent, and the murder cast a veil over what would have been a festive time on both campuses.

According to University of Maryland police, in the early hours of May 20, Mr. Collins and two friends were standing at a bus stop outside a dormitory on the Maryland campus when they heard Mr. Urbanski, then aged. 22 years old, screaming. They watched him as he approached them.

“Not on the left, not on the left if you know what’s best for you,” Urbanski said, according to police. Mr Collins said no, and Mr Urbanski plunged a three to four inch silver blade into his chest, police said a witness told them.

When officers arrived, they found Mr. Urbanski, a University of Maryland student, sitting on a bench a few yards from where witnesses said he had just stabbed Mr. Collins, said officials. Mr Collins was pronounced dead after 4 a.m., just three days before he graduated from Bowie State.

At the time, Mr Urbanski’s attack did not qualify as a hate crime under Maryland law, officials said. Mr Collins’ parents were successful in lobbying to change the law, which went into effect in October. Now a suspect’s past activity, and not just rhetoric on the scene, can be taken as evidence of intent. This new law is named after Mr. Collins.

Under Maryland law, offenders sentenced to life in prison are eligible for parole after 15 years, according to Prince George County state attorney Aisha Braveboy. William Brennan, an attorney for Mr Urbanski, said his client may be eligible for parole sooner given the time already served and his good behavior.

After the attack, officials said they were investigating the episode as a possible hate crime.

Mr Urbanski was a member of a Facebook group that had trafficked anti-black and sexist memes. The group was shut down after the attack and its administrator, Alex Goodman, said it was satire. “Nothing is meant to be true,” Mr. Goodman told The New York Times. “I condemn those who believe in white supremacy.”

At Thursday’s press conference, a prosecutor in charge of the case said Mr Urbanski had had wide access to such messages.

“The number of racist and hateful memes that were on her phone was just confusing,” said Jonathan Church, deputy state attorney for Prince George.

Mr. Brennan said during sentencing that his client had “a great deal of remorse” and that he deeply regretted what he had done.

Elizabeth Urbanski, Mr Urbanski’s mother, expressed the “horror and devastation” of her son’s crime. She told Mr. Collins’ parents, according to the Associated Press, “Your son Richard should be here, and it’s my son Sean’s fault that he’s not.”

At the press conference, Ms Collins said her son looked forward to a bright future.

“He had aspired to be the next General Colin Powell,” Ms. Collins said, referring to the retired four-star general and former secretary of state. “And there was nothing that was going to stop him.”

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A man who carried a Confederate flag in the Capitol was arrested.

A man who was pictured holding a Confederate battle flag inside the U.S. Capitol last week during the riot was arrested in Delaware on Thursday, two law enforcement officials said. The man, Kevin Seefried, was wanted by the FBI, who had asked the public for help in identifying him and had widely circulated a dispatch plastered with images from him.

In a newsletter, the agency said it was seeking help in identifying people “who had made an illegal entry” into the Capitol, and asked the public to refer to Photo No.30 when providing advice on the whereabouts of the man with the Confederate flag, now identified by The New York Times as Mr. Seefried.

The FBI had received more than 126,000 photo and video tips earlier this week, as officers also cleaned manifestos from airline passengers and videos of air travelers to and from Washington for potential suspects. The chief federal prosecutor in Washington said this week that he expected the number of people charged with crimes related to the Capitol Riot to reach hundreds.

Federal agents made new arrests in New York, Maryland, Texas and Florida on Wednesday, including a firefighter in the town of Sanford, near Orlando.

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Man who sat on death row exonerated after questioning bite evidence

After years of fighting a murder conviction that relied heavily on questionable evidence, a Mississippi man who has spent more than a quarter of a century behind bars got his case dismissed last week.

The man, Eddie Lee Howard, 67, remained on death row even though his conviction was based on little more than bite marks on a murder victim, which were presented as evidence at his trial by an expert whose testimony has since been called into question. .

Mr. Howard’s capital murder conviction was overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court last year and he was released in December. Last week, a judge approved a motion from the Lowndes County District Attorney’s Office to dismiss the case.

“I agree with the Supreme Court that the bite evidence has been scrutinized,” said District Attorney Scott Colom. “Other than this evidence, nothing else put Mr. Howard at the scene of the murder.”

Mr Colom added that the DNA of a weapon at the scene of the crime had been shown to belong to someone other than Mr Howard. “It could be considered as an exculpatory matter,” he said.

In 1994, Mr. Howard was convicted of the 1992 murder of Georgia Kemp, 84, who was found dead at her home in Lowndes County, Mississippi. Kemp also had injuries consistent with rape – but no visible bite marks.

The expert testimony on bite marks came from Dr. Michael West, a Mississippi dentist who was approached by prosecutors across the country in the 1980s and 1990s. He said the bite marks on the body of Mrs. Kemp, which he had found using ultraviolet light, matched Mr. Howard’s teeth.

But attorneys representing Mr. Howard argued that the bite marks were not a reliable form of forensic evidence.

“The reality is that there has never been any evidence against Eddie Lee Howard,” said Chris Manufacturer, attorney for Mr. Howard and director of strategic litigation with Project Innocence. “It’s amazing.”

Bite evidence has played a role in hundreds of cases, and its use in Ted Bundy’s 1979 trial propelled them into the public spotlight.

“As it began to be accepted into the courtroom, no one was really disputing its scientific validity,” said Mary Bush, a professor at Buffalo School of Dentistry, an expert in forensic dentistry and analysis. bites. was an expert witness for Mr. Howard in 2016.

But in the years since, the method has been criticized by experts who find it ineffective.

Because human skin is elastic, bite marks can easily warp, Dr Bush said. “Unless you have DNA, you really can’t use a bite to identify someone,” she added.

Even Dr. West seems to have questioned their value. Court documents show that in a 2012 deposition for a different case, Dr West said he didn’t think bite mark analysis should be used in court.

But when Mr. Manufacturer asked him about this statement in 2016, he did not deny his testimony during Mr. Howard’s murder trial. “I can make mistakes,” he says. “Do I think I made any mistakes in this case?” No.”

Attempts to reach Dr West for comment by telephone on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

At least 26 people in the United States have been wrongfully convicted following evidence of bites, according to Project Innocence.

Mr. Howard was locked up in Parchman, a top security prison in the Mississippi Delta. Built on the grounds of an old plantation, the establishment is renowned for its difficult conditions and violent outbreaks.

Mr. Howard has been convicted of the same crime twice. His first capital murder conviction, in 1994, was overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1997. But he was tried again in 2000 – when prosecutors brought in Dr. West – and convicted.

At the time, Forrest Allgood was the Lowndes County District Attorney. He also pursued the cases of two other men – Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer – whose convictions were based on a bite analysis. Dr. West also testified in these cases, and those convictions were ultimately quashed.

Mr Allgood did not immediately return a message requesting comment on Wednesday.

Mr. Colom became the county county prosecutor in 2015. When Mr. Howard’s case came to his office, he said dismissing it was not a difficult decision.

“This is a great example of why we need to have the capacity in the criminal justice system to look back and correct mistakes,” said Colom, who called for the creation of a unit. wrongful convictions at the state level.

Mr Manufacturer said Mr Howard’s wrongful conviction resulted not only from prosecutors’ reliance on flawed forensics, but also deep-rooted structural inequities.

“It’s a story about junk science, but it’s really about the American criminal justice system,” he said. “This is a racist and one-sided prosecution based on the story of an elderly and vulnerable white person attacked by a black man, who was sentenced without due process and sent to a former slave plantation to await execution. .

Mr. Howard, he said, was doing his best to readjust to life outside of prison, taking advantage of things he had no access to before – fresh linens, hot baths – and working in the kitchen of a restaurant.

Mr. Howard was unavailable for comment on Wednesday. But in a statement provided by Mr Manufacturer, Mr Howard thanked those who had fought for his release.

“Without your hard work on my behalf,” he said, “I would still be confined to this terrible place called the Mississippi Penitentiary Department, in the death row, waiting to be executed.

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The FBI arrests a man who had worn zip ties in the Capitol.

The FBI on Sunday arrested a man who was pictured in the Senate Chamber dressed in military-style clothing and holding zip ties after internet researchers. managed to piece together his identity.

Law enforcement officials said the man, Eric Gavelek Munchel, 30, was arrested in Nashville on federal charges. One of the officials said authorities recovered several weapons. No further details were available. The charges are expected to be announced shortly.

Efforts to reach Mr. Munchel prior to his arrest failed. He is one of more than a dozen people indicted by federal authorities in connection with the attack on the Capitol.

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Man with assault rifle accused of Pelosi threat, officials say

A man who had an assault rifle was accused of threatening Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, after traveling to Washington for the pro-Trump rally on Wednesday and sending a text saying he would put ” shot in his head on live television, ”Federal officials said.

Federal agents say the man, Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr., stayed at a Holiday Inn in Washington and had weapons in his camper-style trailer, including a Glock handgun, pistol, rifle assault Tavor X95 and hundreds of cartridges. .

Mr Meredith has been charged with transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, possession of an unregistered firearm and illegal possession of ammunition, court records show. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.

The Justice Department said on Friday he was one of 13 people indicted in federal court after a violent pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Wednesday and disrupted Congress as it certified the presidential election results.

Those charged included conspiracy theorists, the Proud Boys, elected officials and ordinary Americans.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Mr. Meredith erected a billboard in 2018 in Acworth, Georgia that read “#QANON” along with his company name, Car Nutz Car Wash.

QAnon’s conspiracy theory, which the FBI has called a potential threat of domestic terrorism, accuses Democrats and some Republicans of being beholden to a cabal of bureaucrats, pedophiles and Satanists. Many followers believe that President Trump is secretly fighting a criminal gang of sex traffickers.

Mr Meredith told the Journal-Constitution in 2018 that he installed the QAnon billboard because he was “a patriot among the millions who love this country”.

Mr. Meredith, whose current hometown was not available, told federal agents he came from Colorado and arrived too late for Wednesday’s rally in Washington.

“I’m trying but currently stuck in Cambridge, OH with the trailer lights being repaired,” he wrote in one of several text messages to friends, according to FBI

In another text message, accompanied by a purple devil emoji, he said he had “one ton of 5.56 armor-piercing rounds of armor.” In other texts, he referred to Ms Pelosi with misogynistic slurs and threatened to run her over, the FBI said.

“I predict that in 12 days many in our country will die,” wrote Meredith, according to the FBI.

Seamus Hughes contribution to reports.