Defendant Arrested in DC After Returning to Participate in Inauguration Protests
WASHINGTON— A New Mexico County commissioner was charged today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for breaching the U.S. Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021.
Couy Griffin, of New Mexico, was arrested today in Washington, D.C., and charged by criminal complaint with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful entry.
As alleged in the charging documents, on Jan. 9, 2021, law enforcement received a tip that Griffin, an Otero County, New Mexico, Commissioner was present at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and had posted videos to his Facebook page indicating that he intended to return to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, 2021, and “plant our flag” on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk.
An investigation into Griffin revealed that he is the founder of an organization called “Cowboys for Trump,” and that following the incident at the U.S. Capitol, Griffin posted a video to the Cowboys for Trump Facebook page in which he stated that he “climbed up on the top of the Capitol building and . . . had a first row seat.” In that same video, now removed, he states:
“You want to say that that was a mob? You want to say that was violence? No sir. No Ma’am. No we could have a 2nd Amendment rally on those same steps that we had that rally yesterday. You know, and if we do, then it’s gonna be a sad day, because there’s gonna be blood running out of that building. But at the end of the day, you mark my word, we will plant our flag on the desk of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and Donald J. Trump if it boils down to it.”
On Jan. 14, 2021, Griffin spoke at an Otero County, New Mexico, council meeting about his experience at the Capitol and his plans to return to Washington, D.C., to protest President-Elect Biden’s Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021. It is alleged that Griffin stated that he intended to bring his firearms with him when he traveled to Washington, D.C.
The case is being prosecuted by the Assistant U.S. Attorneys Janani Iyengar and Jason Feldman of the District of Columbia United States Attorney’s Office, and Trial Attorney George Kraehe of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice. The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and the U.S. Capitol Police Department.
The ATF and FBI continue to urge the public to report suspected use of explosive devices, or violent, destructive acts associated with the recent unrest. Anyone with information can call 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477), email [email protected] or submit information anonymously via ReportIt.com.
The FBI is looking for individuals who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at fbi.gov/USCapitol.
The charges contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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