Alleged Jan. 6 Rioter Seen on Video Grabbing a Police Shield Is Charged

A man allegedly seen on video grabbing a police officer's riot shield has been charged in connection to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Narayana Rheiner, 40, of Baltimore, was charged Thursday with "civil disorder and related offenses," according to a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) press release. He had been arrested by federal officials the day prior.

Rheiner also faces charges of "disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds" and "entering into a restricted building without authorization" for his alleged crimes that day.

January 6
Narayana Rheiner, 40, has been arrested on charges relating to the January 6, 2021, attack at the U.S. Capitol. Rheiner allegedly stormed the building and grabbed a police officer's riot shield. Here, a general view of the attack can be seen. Jon Cherry/Getty

A DOJ affidavit says that, during the Capitol breach, Rheiner was seen on the body cam footage of a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer. Rheiner can be seen at the front of a police line waving others to come forward toward the police line as he and others said to "push up" on the line, the affidavit alleges.

"Rheiner then made contact with officers with his left arm and then grabbed an officer's riot shield and attempt to pull it away from the officer," the affidavit says. "Body worn camera footage from officers inside the Capitol shows Rheiner inside the U.S. Capitol, telling officers to 'stand down and go home.'"

Additionally, the man alleged to be Rheiner can be seen on closed-circuit television footage walking into the Capitol as the riot progressed.

The DOJ conducted an interview with one of the MPD officers in question following the attack. The officer said that he remembers seeing the man alleged to be Rheiner "trying to hurt officers and trying to get past the police line which was formed on the U.S Capitol steps."

An investigation into the body cam footage was soon launched, with the DOJ working in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A break in the case came when the FBI received what it called "an electronic tip from a non-anonymous citizen who stated that they 'stumbled upon a YouTube video.'" The FBI said that this information eventually led to Rheiner being positively identified as the man in the body cam footage.

The FBI added that it is continuing to gather more evidence in the case. Rheiner made his first appearance in a Washington, D.C., federal court on Thursday.

A Google search uncovered a Medium account listed under Rheiner's name, along with an accompanying Twitter profile. At least one tweet on the page appeared to promote Frank Speech, a social media platform created by noted right-wing conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell. It is not explicitly clear that these accounts are owned by the same Rheiner who is facing charges.

As law enforcement continues to track down the perpetrators of the January 6 attack, the DOJ says that more than 750 people have been arrested in connection with the events of that day. This includes arrests in almost all 50 states, and at least eight people in Rheiner's home state of Maryland.

At least 235 of these people have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, according to the DOJ.

Newsweek has reached out to the MPD for comment.