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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
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Pro-Trump Rioter Seen Beating Cop With Flagpole Arrested in Arkansas

Little Rock FBI agents on Thursday arrested the man caught on video repeatedly striking a Capitol police officer with a flagpole during the violent mob attack in Washington last week.

(CN) — Little Rock FBI agents on Thursday arrested the man caught on video repeatedly striking a Capitol police officer with a flagpole during the violent mob attack in Washington last week.

Peter Francis Stager, 41, surrendered himself at a law office Thursday night where federal authorities took him into custody on a charge of obstructing a police officer from his duties during a civil disorder, according to a federal complaint.

He is the second Arkansas man facing federal charges for his actions at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, joining Richard Barnett, the rioter who was photographed with his feet up on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk.

FBI Special Agent William Kennedy said that Stager was identified through a tip received earlier in the day. He was being held in the Pulaski County Detention Center without bond as of Friday morning.

“A lot of this information we are receiving from the public in almost real time through our tips, so this is information that we received earlier today,” Kennedy told reporters Thursday night.

According to the complaint and arrest warrant, a uniformed officer with the Metropolitan Police Department, identified as B.M., was dragged down the stairs of the U.S. Capitol building while standing guard in the archway to prevent the group of rioters from breaching the building.

“These individuals forced B.M. into a prone position on the stairs and proceeded to forcibly and repeatedly strike B.M. in the head and body with various objects,” the complaint states.

Recognizing Stager through videos posted on Twitter, a confidential informant submitted an online tip identifying him as the man seen using a flagpole with a United States flag to repeatedly strike the officer while he laid on the Capitol steps.

The same tipster identified Stager in a second video in which he states, “Everybody in there is a treasonous traitor. Death is the only remedy for what’s in that building,” according to the complaint.

A second informant interviewed by FBI agents also recognized Stager, of Conway, Arkansas. He told authorities that Stager stated that he thought the person he was striking with the flagpole was antifa and not a law enforcement officer.

Widely spread photos and video of the mob attack show the officer lying on the Capitol steps while surrounded by a large group of rioters, his uniform clearly marked with the words “Metropolitan Police.”

Federal authorities are continuing to ask for the public’s help in identifying individuals who took part in the riot.

“If you were at the Capitol committing a crime you should expect that FBI agents will be showing up at your house,” Kennedy said. “That is how seriously we’re taking this.”

In the other Arkansas case, Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Erin Wiedemann on Friday afternoon granted Barnett's request for release on a $5,000 unsecured bond. Barnett, who has been in custody since turning himself into authorities on Jan. 8., will be placed under home incarceration and be subject to location monitoring.

The judge also ordered Barnett to turnover his passport, restricted him from having any communication with any other participants in the Capitol riot, and will be prohibited from accessing the internet.

“I am inclined to make these restrictions very, very restrictive…to ensure Mr. Barnett’s safety, his family’s safety and the community's safety,” Wiedemann said after a nearly four-hour hearing.

Prosecutors told Wiedemann that Barnett purchased a high-voltage Zap Hike N Strike hiking staff from Bass Pro Shop six days before the riot, along with two bottles of pepper spray and two packages containing three two-way radios.

They also said they still cannot locate Barnett's cellphone or weapons, and that he has two dates of birth listed.

Barnett is charged with multiple counts related to the mob attack, including an amended charge for allegedly carrying a stun gun into the Capitol. He faces more than 11 years in prison.

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Categories / Criminal, National

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