U.S. law enforcement authorities have launched a nationwide manhunt to identify and arrest insurrectionists that broke into and vandalized the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. Wednesday in an attempted coup d'état instigated by President Donald Trump.
The capital's Metropolitan Police Department (DC Police) on Thursday announced the arrests of 68 persons. Of those arrested so far, only one is a resident of Washington D.C.
These people took part in an insurrection by a violent pro-Trump mob that wanted to prevent the U.S. Congress from counting and formally certifying the Electoral College victory of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States. Congress, however, certified Biden's victory early Thursday morning after it members went into hiding for six hours to escape the Trump mob.
As of Friday, some 40 of these 68 people were charged in D.C. Superior Court in connection with the insurrection. Offenses levied against them include unlawful entry, curfew violations and firearms-related crimes. In addition, 13 people were charged with federal crimes.
DC Police also said they're tracking down 36 more individuals. Those being sought for arrest include White supremacists and conspiracy theorists.
Police released 26 pages of photos of insurrectionists wanted for "Unlawful entry." Other charges involve inciting a riot and weapons violations.
Among those already identified are Jake Angeli of Arizona, who calls himself the "QAnon shaman," and whose horned buffalo costume and half-naked attire made him easily recognizable. Another is Richard "Bigo" Barnett of Arkansas who was quickly identified by his local news station as the man seated on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's chair in her office. Barnett was arrested Thursday.
"We still have a significant amount of work ahead of us to identify and hold each and every one of the violent mob accountable for their violent actions," said DC Police chief Robert Contee.
Six legislators from the Republican Party admitted to joining the violent protests that led to the deaths of five people, including a Capitol Police officer who died Thursday at a hospital after falling unconscious from his injuries. Police officer Brian D. Sicknick died from a stroke after being struck on the head by a metal fire extinguisher.
On the other hand, DC Police shot a killed Ashli Babbitt, a U.S. Air Force veteran and ardent Trump supporter. She was shot dead after entering the Capitol building. Three other people died in "medical emergencies" after the riot.
One of these GOP lawmakers, Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver from Tennessee, boasted in a tweet she was "in the thick of it" with "a whole heck of a lot of patriots" before the storming the Capitol.
"Epic and historic day gathering with fellow Patriots from all over the nation," she tweeted.
The other GOP legislators who either took part in or abetted the attempted coup were Rep. Matt Maddock from Michigan, Rep. Justin Hill from Missouri, Sen. Doug Mastriano from Pennsylvania, Delegate Derrick Evans from West Virginia and Sen. Amanda Chase from Virginia.
Evans, a newly elected member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, was charged with illegal entry, said the D.C. U.S. Attorney's Office. The federal criminal complaint against Evans alleges he knowingly entered or remained in a restricted building, and that he engaged in violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds. Evans was later released on his own personal recognizance.
Chase, an outspoken Trump supporter, was blocked by Facebook on Friday from making posts or comments on the social media site for 30 days. She was also banned from doing live video or buying advertisements for 60 days. Democrats called on her to resign.
Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said the Department of Justice is committed to ensuring those responsible for the attack on the federal government and the rule of law will face the full consequences of their actions under the law.
"Some participants in yesterday's violence will be charged today, and we will continue to methodically assess evidence, charge crimes and make arrests in the coming days and weeks to ensure that those responsible are held accountable under the law," said Rosen.
The FBI is calling for tips and digital media depicting rioting and violence in the Capitol Building and the surrounding area.
"Let me assure the American people the FBI has deployed our full investigative resources and is working closely with our federal, state, and local partners to aggressively pursue those involved in criminal activity during the events of January 6," said FBI Director Christopher Wray Thursday.