John Earle Sullivan said he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6 as a journalist. But in the video he provided to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he is heard making comments about burning the building, breaking a window, telling police to go home and profanity about President Donald J. Trump.
He was arrested Thursday in Provo, Utah, for his role in the riot. Sullivan now faces three charges from that day: knowingly entering a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and interfering with law enforcement.
"In at least two encounters, Sullivan can be heard on the video arguing with the officers, telling them to stand down so that they do not get hurt," according to an affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Matthew Foulger. "Among other things, Sullivan can be heard telling officers, 'You are putting yourself in harm's way," and "The people have spoken."
Sullivan is known as a left-wing activist who has previously participated in Black Lives Matter protests. The 26-year-old is the founder and leader of Insurgence USA, an organization which organizes protests.
His organization's website, which calls people to "join the revolution," describes the mission as, "Insurgence USA was started in 2020 in response to the George Floyd tragedy." It also states, "The lack of care for the human life was unacceptable so we set out to end police brutality. We then set out to empower and uplifting black and indigenous voices. We want to build local powers to enable the community to intervene in violence enacted by the state and government vigilantes."
He turned his 50-minute video over to authorities, which had already been posted on YouTube, with Sullivan referring to himself as JaydenX, a mark of known antifa video coverage online.
Prior to this most recent round of charges, Sullivan was arrested and charged with rioting and criminal mischief during a June 30 riot in Utah where a truck driver was shot. The group was protesting police brutality. The case is still pending.
Events at the Capitol
In a voluntary interview with the FBI on Jan. 7, Sullivan admits to being at the Capitol on Jan. 6. He was wearing a ballistic vest and gas mask.
He went on to provide interviews to various news outlets, including CNN and ABC's Good Morning America. In the interviews, he described the scene at the Capitol that day, portraying himself as a bystander and journalist.
He admitted to police he has no press credentials.
According to Foulger, the video spans the crowd gathering outside the Capitol until police begin exiting the building. It shows the crowd beginning to push past barricades. People can be heard stating the intent of disrupting the joint session of Congress occurring inside.
"At about 2 p.m., certain individuals in the crowd forced their way through, up and over the barricades, and past officers of the U.S. Capitol Police, including by engaging in assaultive and abusive conduct toward officers of the U.S. Capitol Police who lawfully attempted to block access to the U.S. Capitol," Foulger recorded in his affidavit, which goes on to describe the unlawful entry of the building and the violence that ensued.
Sullivan admitted to posing as a Trump supporter. "I'm gonna wear a Trump hat, I'm gonna wear a Trump hat," Sullivan said. "I bought one today, I was wearing a Trump hat at the last rally during the day time."
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