Proud Boy organizer from Florida among latest arrests for U.S. Capitol riot

Two Florida men, including a self-described organizer for the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, were arrested Wednesday for taking part in the siege of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, authorities said.

Joseph Biggs, 37, was arrested in central Florida and faces charges of obstructing an official proceeding before Congress, unlawful entry and disorderly conduct.

According to an arrest affidavit, Biggs was part of a crowd on Jan. 6 that overwhelmed Capitol Police officers who were manning a metal barrier on the steps of the Capitol. The mob entered the building as lawmakers were certifying President Joe Biden’s election win.

Biggs appeared to be wearing a walkie-talkie during the storming of the Capitol, but he told FBI agents that he had no knowledge about the planning of the destructive riot and didn’t know who organized it, the affidavit said.

Ahead of the riot, Biggs told followers of his on the social media app Parler to dress in black to resemble the far-left antifa movement, the affidavit said.

Biggs had organized a 2019 rally in Portland, Ore., in which more than 1,000 far-right protesters and anti-fascist counter-demonstrators faced off.

Proud Boys involved in violent clashes

The Proud Boys are known for engaging in violent clashes at political rallies. During a September presidential debate, Trump had urged them to “stand back and stand by” when asked to condemn them by a moderator.

An online court docket did not indicate whether Biggs has an attorney who could comment.

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Jesus Rivera, 37, also was arrested Wednesday in Pensacola. He faces charges of knowingly entering a restricted building, intent to impede government business, disorderly conduct and demonstrating in the Capitol buildings.

Rivera uploaded a video to Facebook showing himself in the U.S. Capitol crypt, authorities said. The five-minute video ends with Rivera starting to climb out a window at the Capitol, according to an arrest affidavit.

An online court docket also did not list an attorney for Rivera.

The cases are being handled by federal prosecutors in the District of Columbia. More than a half-dozen other Floridians have been charged in relation to the Capitol assault.

Man charged with pinning officer

Separately, a Connecticut man seen in a widely viewed video pinning an officer into a doorway during the Capitol attack has been charged with assaulting police officers, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Patrick McCaughey III, 23, of Ridgefield, was arrested Tuesday in South Salem, N.Y., on charges that include assaulting, resisting or impeding officers, violent entry or disorderly conduct, and entering a restricted building or grounds.

A federal magistrate judge in New York ordered McCaughey detained without bail Wednesday afternoon, saying his actions were disturbing and he presented a threat to the community. McCaughey’s case is being transferred to Washington, and he is detained pending proceedings there early next month.

Federal authorities said McCaughey struck several police officers with a clear, plastic riot shield inside the Capitol. Authorities said he also used the shield to pin Officer Daniel Hodges of the Metropolitan Police Department against a doorway; a video shows Hodges writhing in pain and another rioter beating Hodges after ripping off the officer’s gas mask. Hodges survived.

Police asked for the public’s help in identifying the attackers and released photos of a man later identified as McCaughey seen in the Capitol during the violence. A witness came forward identifying McCaughey as the person in the photos.

Meanwhile, another man arrested in New York City early Wednesday as part of the riot roundup was ordered held without bail after prosecutors argued he is a danger to the community.

The government cited a photo on social media that suggested Samuel Fisher had stashed firearms in a vehicle he took to Washington for the pro-Trump protest. Court papers said he also posted a photo of himself at the Capitol entrance and later wrote online, “seeing cops literally run … was the coolest thing ive ever seen in my life.”

At a bail hearing, a prosecutor said that firearms, bullet-proof vests and ammunition were found at the Manhattan residence where he was arrested on Wednesday. Fisher’s lawyer said there was no proof he ever took weapons to Washington and that he was ever actually inside the Capitol.

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