Police arrest New Mexico man near US Capitol for alleged role in January 6 riot

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A New Mexico man who had been wanted for his role in the January 6 riot was arrested blocks away from the US Capitol on Sunday, according to an FBI spokeswoman.

The US Capitol Police detained Couy Griffin on the 400 block of North Capitol Street NW, and later notified the FBI, according to a statement.

He is charged with entering a restricted area of the Capitol complex. It wasn’t immediately clear who he had retained as his lawyer. 

US Capitol Police officers first approached Griffin after running his license plate and noticing that he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, according to a law enforcement official.

A county commissioner in Otero County, New Mexico, Griffin had discussed his presence at the Capitol riot at a public meeting of the commission on Thursday, telling colleagues that he led a prayer session from a restricted-access deck of the Capitol building.

He also announced in the meeting that he planned to return to Washington ahead of the inauguration this week, and that he would bring his guns in his car. 

“I’m going to go back to Washington, DC, I’m gonna be there on January 20,” he said, according to video of the remarks posted online. “I’m gonna take a stand for our country and for our freedoms because this election was fraudulent on every level.”

In an affidavit, a DC Metropolitan Police Department detective cited Griffin’s remarks from the meeting as well as video footage that captures him on the platform during the riot, including one he posted himself on Facebook where he said that he’d “climbed up on the top of the Capitol building and… had a first row seat.”

The detective also identifies Griffin as the founder of a group called “Cowboys for Trump.” 

A colleague of Griffin’s who was with him during the mayhem told authorities that they spent about an hour-and-a-half on the deck, preaching to a massive crowd below, according to the court document. 

In an interview with FBI agents earlier this month, Griffin said that he had been “caught up” in the crowd as it pushed its way through the barricades and into a restricted area of the complex, the affidavit says. 

Griffin also told the FBI that he planned to return for a rally on Inauguration Day, which he hoped would be “non-violent.” 

 

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