Feds Catch Cop Assaulting Jan. 6 Rioter After 15 Months On The Run

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Although four jury trials for Capitol rioters have already taken place, new arrests in connection to the Trump-inspired violence at the Capitol are also continuing. Now, Tennessee resident Edward Kelley has been arrested for offenses including breaking a window adjacent to a Senate Wing door and assaulting a police officer who was participating in the attempted defense of the Capitol complex. Kelley’s charges include assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers, civil disorder, destruction of government property, and other alleged offenses.

At the Capitol, Kelley had a gas mask and green tactical helmet, further exemplifying how what transpired that day wasn’t simply spontaneous — many who were present had prepared in some form for violence. Individuals affiliated with the far-right group called the Oath Keepers prepared for potentially lethal violence, and they stocked up on weapons, some of which were stashed at D.C.-area hotels, in support of those preparations. As for Kelley, he apparently went into the Capitol through the window he broke with a piece of wood. “After entering through the breached window, Kelley moved to the still closed Senate Wing Door and kicked it open, which allowed other rioters to enter,” the Justice Department also explains. Kelley’s actions, then, don’t appear to have been limited to spur-of-the-moment reflexes (one of the rioters who went to trial claimed self-defense in response to his charge for assaulting a police officer) — Kelley was committed.

In two June 2021 interviews, Kelley told an FBI agent that he didn’t actually go inside the Capitol on the day of the riot, although in reality, he was in the building for about 40 minutes. Kelley was wearing a hoodie associated with The Church at Planned Parenthood — an anti-abortion organization — while participating in the breach of the Capitol, and bank records indicate that Kelley bought something in the price range of a hoodie from the group. On top of that fact, Kelley apparently freely discussed his participation in events put on by the organization when interviewed by the FBI — details that at least tentatively further confirmed that the individual participating in the breach really was him. An altercation with police in which Kelley was involved featured the defendant and two other individuals eventually throwing an officer to the ground. It remains remarkable that these people thought they could freely commit such brazenly illegal acts — Trump brought out some of the most destructive elements within U.S. society.

According to the Justice Department, at D.C.’s Phoenix Hotel after the riot, Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes “called an individual over speaker phone. Wilson heard Rhodes repeatedly implore the individual to tell President Trump to call upon groups like the Oath Keepers to forcibly oppose the transfer of power. This individual denied Rhodes’s request to speak directly with President Trump.” The Justice Department made these revelations — in apparent reference to Oath Keepers’ hopes for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act — in the case of William Wilson, an Oath Keepers leader who pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy in connection to actions taken around the time of the riot. The Insurrection Act allows presidents to summon militias, and Oath Keepers members were prepared to fulfill that role.

Featured image: Tyler Merbler, available under a Creative Commons License