Capitol Rioter Says Officer 'Shrugged' When He Asked if He Could Enter Building

Mark Rebegila, who is accused of entering lawmakers' offices during the riot at the Capitol, told the FBI he asked a police officer if he could go into the Capitol and the officer didn't say no.

Rebegila was arrested on Monday, two months after the FBI interviewed someone who said they saw a video he took inside the Capitol. He later deleted the video in an effort to evade trouble but denies that he stole a bottle of liquor from an office, as someone alleged, or that he destroyed property or hurt a police officer to get into the building.

"Rebegila stated in sum and substance that he arrived at the U.S. Capitol after others pushed down the barriers and crowds were entering the building," a complaint said about a conversation Rebegila had with the FBI. "Rebegila further stated that he asked a police officer if he could go inside and the officer shrugged his shoulders."

In the wake of the riot, Capitol security came under heavy scrutiny and Rebegila isn't the only defendant to make the case that law enforcement didn't indicate they were doing something wrong. At least 30 people have said that they thought they were allowed to go into the Capitol, either because a door was open when they got there or officers failed to inform them they couldn't be there.

mark Rebegila capitol riot
Mark Rebegila, an alleged Capitol rioter, told the FBI that he asked a police officer if he could come inside and the officer shrugged. Department of Justice

About 200 people have been charged in connection with the riot and Rebegila is one of about many who was turned in by someone they allegedly knew. Steven D'Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office, warned rioters in January that they should come forward because every agent was looking for them and their family and friends were tipping officials off.

After the FBI received a tip that Rebegila had been president inside the Capitol during the riot, they interviewed a witness who said they knew him. That person, who was unnamed in the complaint, said they saw a video Rebegila sent to people of himself inside the Capitol.

The witness also told the FBI that other people claimed Rebegila sat in a lawmaker's chair and stole a bottle of liquor from an office in the Capitol. The March 10 complaint said the reported property theft was under investigation, but the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia declined to comment on its status, as is their policy.

Newsweek reached out to Mark Rebegila's attorney for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Rebegila provided a photo of himself in front of the Washington Monument from earlier in the day to the FBI, but in late February, told a special agent he still couldn't find the video he sent of himself in the Capitol.

Security footage from inside the Capitol showed a person believed to be Rebegila entering the building through a door that "rioters forced open earlier" and entering several offices, according to the complaint.