Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Alabama man arrested for Capitol riot: ’Crowd became mob”

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man was arrested Thursday and charged with taking part in last week’s storming of the U.S. Capitol, identified in part from a YouTube video he made in which he spoke of how the crowd became an angry mob, prosecutors say.

Joshua Mathew Black of Leeds, Alabama, was charged with entering a restricted building and violent entry or disorderly conduct. A federal agent wrote in the arrest documents that Black was identified as a man photographed on the Senate floor and also as the individual who recorded the anonymous video two days later describing his experience.

According to arrest document, Black said in the video that the “crowd went crazy” when Congress began proceedings to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win over President Donald Trump and that he believed Vice President Mike Pence “turned on us and that they had stolen the election.”

Judges across the country, some nominated by Trump, had repeatedly dismissed lawsuits challenging the election results, and Trump ally Attorney General William Barr has said there was no evidence of widespread fraud.

“We just wanted to get inside the building. I wanted to get inside the building so I could plead the blood of Jesus over it. That was my goal,” Black said on the recording, according to the arrest document. He is seen wearing a Trump hat in the video.

It was not immediately clear if Black has a lawyer.

The video remains on YouTube. In it he said his cheek was pierced by a projectile during the pro-Trump riot while he was trying to help a law enforcement officer who was being stomped on by rioters.

Prosecutors said that after photographs of rioters were made public, a person called and identified Black, who later told an FBI agent he had recorded the video.

Separately, an attorney for another Alabama man who had his bond revoked on a drug charge after being identified in photographs at the Capitol maintained he did not commit any violence.

Court records show that a judge on Monday revoked the bond for 23-year-old William Watson after prosecutors said he was identified in photographs and video of the Jan. 6 riot.

“Mr. Watson will readily admit that he did enter the capitol building but only after the Capital Police escorted and/or guided him and several others into the building due to the apparent tear gas that had been released upon the enormous gathering of protestors,” Watson’s attorney said in a statement.

Attorney Zachary D. Alsobrook continued, “Mr. Watson did not damage any property and, in fact, was acting as a peacemaker when guns were drawn upon the buffalo dressed individual who was apparently carrying some sort of item that could have been used as a weapon.”

Some people speculated on social media that Watson was a leftist agitator because of his tattoos. Alsobrook said, “any such suggestion is an absolute lie” and that Watson went to Washington with a friend to protest the election.

Alsobrook said he will seek to have Watson’s bond reinstated.

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