COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man was arrested Wednesday in Alabama for allegedly convening a caravan of people from Virginia to Washington D.C. on Jan. 6 and assaulting police officers on Capitol grounds.
Kenneth Joseph Owen Thomas, 38, of East Liverpool, Ohio, was arrested in Huntsville, Alabama, on preliminary charges that include assaulting, resisting or impeding law enforcement officers, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder and engaging in physical violence on U.S. Capitol grounds.
Federal court documents state Thomas convened a "Maga Caravan" from Virginia to D.C. on or around midnight on Jan. 6.
Hours later, Metropolitan Police Department body camera footage showed Thomas advancing toward officers on the terrace of the Capitol and pushing against their shields, according to the complaint. The footage also showed Thomas punching and striking officers with his fist and forearm at least twice while holding a cell phone and recording the event.
Thomas "was one of the first to come in and start hitting (and) pushing officers on the line," law enforcement officers told the FBI.
Federal agents were able to identify Thomas after a neighbor and an online investigative group tipped them to his personal Facebook page and a 50-minute YouTube video that captured the events of Jan. 6, court records stated.
The northeast Ohio resident had his first court appearance in the Northern District of Alabama on May 26. His federal public defender, Kevin Butler, declined to comment Thursday.
More than 400 supporters of former President Donald Trump have been charged in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, including members of far-right extremist groups. At least 24 of those cases, including the one announced Thursday, involve Ohio residents identified through social media posts and surveillance footage and often turned in by friends or family members.
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