Proud Boys member used pepper spray against police during Capitol riot: prosecutors
A member of the Proud Boys was arrested after prosecutors said he used pepper spray against a line of police officers during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
In court documents filed on Wednesday, prosecutors with the Justice Department said photos taken on Jan. 6 show Christopher Worrell at the Capitol dressed in a tactical vest, with an ear piece in his ear and armed with pepper spray. Court documents show photos of Worrell spraying pepper spray near the steps leading to the Capitol building.
In the documents, prosecutors said that based on examination of several photos and videos from the scene, they believe “the likely intended target of Worrell’s pepper spray assault was the line of law enforcement officers present in these photographs.”
The photos, however, do not directly show Worrell spraying the officers.
According to the documents, Worrell has been charged with five federal crimes: knowingly entering a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions; knowingly engaging in an act of physical violence against any person or property in any restricted building or grounds; uttering loud, threatening, or abusive language, or engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct, at any place in the Grounds or in any of the Capitol Buildings with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of a session of Congress; and engaging in an act of physical violence in the Grounds or any of the Capitol Buildings.
According to CNN, Worrell appeared in federal court on Friday and was released by a federal judge in the Middle District of Florida. The Justice Department quickly appealed the decision, and as a result the chief judge of the federal court in Washington, D.C., temporarily stopped his release pending further review, CNN reported.
Worrell’s lawyer, Landon Miller, told CNN that he plans to plead not guilty, and denied that his client used pepper spray against the police.
The lawyer added that Worrell only came to Washington and marched to the Capitol because he was motivated by former President Trump’s “invitation” to do so.
“Mr. Worrell is overcharged without supporting evidence,” Miller said in an email to CNN on Sunday. “Mr. Worrell adamantly asserts that at no time did he pepper spray toward any law enforcement personnel nor intended to spray any law enforcement personnel. He also asserts that he went to Washington, D.C. and then the Capitol grounds at the direction of former President Trump.”
CNN said that, according to a review of court documents, nearly 20 people affiliated with the Proud Boys have been charged in the Capitol riot.