Capitol hill arrests the rioters, FBI manhunt for riot suspects vandalising

Capitol riots: The search to locate the rioters and arrest them
The FBI is appealing to the public for help in bringing the attackers to justice following the siege of the US Capitol building. Is this strategy going to work?

On Wednesday, Trump supporters converged on Capitol Hill to vent their anger over Joe Biden's election win, wreaking havoc in Congress. Rioters were pictured vandalizing Congressional offices, and a laptop was stolen, recorded by an aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Washington's top Democrat.

According to Justice Department officials, Richard Barnett, a 60-year-old from Gravette, Arkansas, one of the people who entered the Capitol building, has been arrested. He wasn't difficult to locate.

 Richard Barnett
 Richard Barnett
 Richard Barnett
Richard Barnett sitting at Nancy Pelosi's desk

He appeared in a now-iconic image of the siege: the photograph shows him seated in the office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, his feet on a bench. Among other crimes, he has been charged with theft of public property.

Derrick Evans, a West Virginia senator, has been convicted as well. He posted a video of himself online, standing with Trump supporters outside the house, and then going inside the location.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the Miami Herald reported, a Florida man suspected to be the person photographed carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's lectern from the House of Representatives chamber was arrested. Adam Christian Johnson, 36, is being held at a jail in Pinellas County on a federal warrant.

Federal law enforcement authorities said that more than a dozen persons have now been charged with crimes connected to the attack on the Capitol building. In the coming hours and days, more arrests are expected.

adam christian johnson
adam christian johnson

The inquiry is sweeping and ambitious, and the support of the public has been recruited.

A number of offenses, ranging from trespassing and other comparatively minor crimes to serious offences involving guns and explosive devices, may be levied against these intruders. They could be sentenced to a jail term of several years.

Which is why the FBI is now asking: in this photo, do you recognize anyone?

The officers, if so, want to hear from you. They are carrying out a huge operation to track down and apprehend the individuals who on Wednesday broke into the Capitol building. They want everybody to join their crime-solving squad in the city and around the US.

This grassroots strategy, say FBI veterans, is time-worn and successful.

Steven Pomerantz, a former FBI official who previously served as head of the counterterrorism division of the bureau, claims that posters for the FBI's "Most Wanted Fugitives" were once plastered on the walls of post offices. He says these kinds of public-outreach projects perform well.

One of these FBI projects contributed to the arrest of Theodore Kaczynski in the mid-1990s, a Montana man identified as the Unabomber who shipped bombs to citizens, killing three individuals. Officials from the FBI agreed to release a manifesto he wrote to the public. His brother and sister-in-law remembered in the text his ideas and turned him in.

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Citizen-sleuths have become more advanced since then.

Known for his active use of online resources to pursue criminals, activist Shaun King went after some of the individuals who infiltrated the Capitol building. He had pictures of their shenanigans posted, including the intruder with his feet on the desk of Nancy Pelosi.

Another man pictured wearing a fur hat and horns, whose photo was widely circulated online, was quickly identified as Jake Angeli, who was arrested on Saturday as a vocal supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

It takes time, however, to sift through information offered by members of the public, and citizen-sleuths do more harm than good often.

A picture of two people holding backpacks and talking near the Boston marathon was circulated by online investigators after the Boston bombings in 2013. People identified them, even though they had nothing to do with the attacks, as suspects.

The spread of disinformation on who instigated the violence is an addition to the chaos created by the Capitol attack. Some online Trump supporters have even claimed that the rioters were linked to Antifa or Black Lives Matter, but there is no proof of this.

Yet there are many Americans willing to see the mob brought to justice.

Professor Stephen Saltzburg of George Washington University Law has served in the U.S. Department of Justice's criminal division, and he says people here are extremely motivated to support the FBI.

"People care about democracy," he says. "They want to see people punished. They want to see justice done."

Former FBI special agents talk with FOX 5 DC about how the bureau goes about conducting such a large-scale manhunt for suspects involved in the Capitol riots on Wednesday.