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Men are alleged to have marched in the Proud Boys’ headquarters in Albany, New York, on 5 January before leading the crowd on a charge that culminated in them clashing with Capitol police and damaging one of their cruisers
Justice Department charges 2 men alleged to have marched with Proud Boys on January 6 and led charge at US Capitol
The Justice Department has charged two men, one described as the leader of a violent faction of white nationalist and Proud Boys groups, with leading violent attacks on police and other protesters during an appearance by the white nationalist group Identity Evropa at an official US Capitol event on January 6.
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The indictment charges both Dan Sanderson and Matias Gonzalez with inciting violence in the Capitol grounds and with a firearms charge, both punishable by 10 years in prison, said the department on Friday.
At the time, Sanderson, 28, who was wearing a Proud Boys hoodie and carrying a large, American flag, was among about 100 protesters in kayaks and canoes that sought to physically block the Identity Evropa members from being ushered in through the Capitol grounds, according to videos posted on social media and the advocacy website Anti-Racist Action.
“Boom! Dan Sanderson just ran me over!” a boisterous individual in kayak carries can be heard saying in a video.
After the police had detained Sanderson, he broke free from the officers by, “twisting his neck like we wanted him to, sliding on the ground … at which point he grabbed us by the arm and … pulled us over onto the grass,” according to footage.
A spokesman for the Justice Department said Sanderson was allegedly seen leading the white nationalists into the Capitol grounds after the organizers had urged them to “deck” lawmakers and police.
One of the other protesters in the video is seen pointing a gun at Sanderson as he tossed a firework and one of the officers can be heard telling him: “It’s a police firearm, dude, hands up, put your hands behind your back.”
The two were led by the Proud Boys group and were later involved in a battle with Capitol police officers, who pepper-sprayed the occupants of the other marchers and eventually arrested them, said Shaun Kenney, an official with the Justice Department’s civil rights division, who described the demonstration as a “nationalistic riot”.
“Throughout it all, Sanderson participated in physical altercations with Capitol police as they arrested other participants of the violent demonstrations,” he said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said the office is investigating the incident and that there was no release date set for a trial. The spokesperson declined to comment further.
The Justice Department previously had announced that Gonzalez, 19, was charged last month with obstructing justice and brandishing a firearm in relation to the incident in Washington.
Anti-Racist Action released a video of Friday’s indictments, including one that included images of Gonzalez as well as those of Sanderson, who had filed two restraining orders against the activist.
Gonzalez and Sanderson denied the charges.