COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) – A Pennsylvania man was arrested Wednesday for assaulting an Associated Press photographer and police officers during the Jan.6 riot on the United States Capitol.
Alan William Byerly, 54, was armed with what appeared to be a stun gun when he charged officers guarding the Capitol, an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit. After the police apparently removed the device from his hand, Byerly continued to charge the police, hitting or pushing at least three of them, and attempted to grab a police officer’s baton, the officer wrote. .
Agents managed to restrain Byerly, but another rioter helped him escape, the FBI said. Police recovered the stun gun he apparently wielded.
Body camera footage captured Byerly assaulting three Metropolitan Police Department officers, according to the affidavit.
Byerly is also accused of attacking an AP photographer who was wearing a helmet-type gas mask and lanyard with the Associated Press lettering.
One photo shows Byerly standing behind a group of people who pulled the photographer back up a staircase leading to the west facade of the Capitol building, the affidavit reads. At the bottom of the stairs, Byerly and three other people grabbed the photographer and pushed, pushed and dragged him towards the site of the initial altercation, the officer wrote.
“It is deeply disturbing that journalists are being targeted just for doing their job,” AP media relations manager Patrick Maks said in a statement Wednesday. “These accusations are an encouraging sign that those who attacked journalists on January 6 will be held accountable. “
A federal magistrate in Allentown, Pa., Ordered Byerly to be jailed pending a detention hearing on Monday. Court records do not mention a defense lawyer for him.
Charges against Byerly in a June 25 complaint include assaulting a federal officer, obstructing law enforcement during civil unrest and violent entry and disorderly conduct on the Capitol grounds .
The PA reported last week that the fence erected around the Capitol after the insurgency is expected to be removed as early as Friday, weather permitting. Police at the United States Capitol Building said the temporary fence could be reinstalled quickly, if necessary. Construction restrictions remain in effect.
Law enforcement officials have been particularly concerned about the potential for violence from far-right groups and those who believe in conspiracies and follow election-related news online. Officials have been following discussions online about groups of people likely to return to Washington amid an unfounded and unfounded conspiracy theory that former President Donald Trump would be reinstated in August, the AP told the AP two officials close to the case.
Investigators also saw an increase in the number of threats made against congressional lawmakers regarding the Jan.6 insurgency, subsequent congressional investigations and the House committee investigating the insurgency, officials said. Officials were unable to publicly discuss the ongoing investigations and spoke to the PA on condition of anonymity.
More than 520 people were charged with federal riot related crimes in the six months following the siege. More than 100 defendants have been accused of assaulting police officers. Others have been charged with destroying photographic material belonging to journalists covering the riot, including an AP video team.
An Illinois man arrested on June 24 was the first accused charged with assaulting a member of the media during the riot, according to the Department of Justice. Shane Jason Woods, 43, is accused of tackling a cameraman, which caused him to fall and drop his camera, according to the affidavit of an FBI agent.
Images of the riot showed Byerly wearing a gray “Kutztown” beanie, a neon yellow “security” long-sleeved shirt under a black jacket, a striped face cover and a black backpack. Byerly lives in Fleetwood, Pa., About five miles from the town of Kutztown, the affidavit states:
An informant who called the FBI in April identified Byerly as one of the suspects captured in photos of the riots. The Appellant testified that Byerly frequents a Fleetwood company where the Appellant works. Byerly told a friend he was waiting to be arrested because he knew his photo had been made public, the caller said.
Cell phone records showed Byerly’s phone was in Washington, DC on Jan.6, the FBI said.
Associated Press editors Lisa Mascaro and Michael Balsamo in Washington contributed to this report.
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