FBI charges North Kingstown man with storming Capitol in Jan. 6 riot

·3 min read

PROVIDENCE — A North Kingstown man was arrested Wednesday at his home on felony and misdemeanor charges for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, federal officials said.

Bernard Joseph Sirr, 47, was led into a Providence federal courtroom, his hands handcuffed behind his back. He is charged in a criminal complaint filed in the District of Columbia with civil disorder, a felony, and related misdemeanor offenses.

Bernard Sirr of North Kingstown leaves federal court in Providence on Wednesday after being arrested on suspicion of participating in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Bernard Sirr of North Kingstown leaves federal court in Providence on Wednesday after being arrested on suspicion of participating in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

After explaining his rights to him, U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan ordered Sirr released on a $10,000 unsecured bond and placed on supervised release. He was required to surrender custody of his 12 guns to a family member and his passport to the court, and is not allowed to travel outside the continental United States. Except for attending court, he is not allowed to enter Washington, D.C.

Sullivan ordered him to appear in person in federal court in Washington on July 7.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Daly said that federal agents had photographed all 12 of the firearms they found in his home, a combination of handguns and rifles, but seized none of them.

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Sirr did not say anything in court other than that he understood the judge, and walked out of the courthouse with his attorney, Norman Landroche.

Landroche told reporters following him and Sirr that they would not comment.

According to court documents, on Jan. 6, Sirr was among rioters who illegally entered the Capitol grounds. Wearing a tan and black baseball cap with a snake on it, a blue neck gaiter, glasses and a coat, Sirr joined a line of rioters that was engaged in a confrontation with law-enforcement officers in the tunnel area of the Lower West Terrace.

The documents say that video taken at about 3:08 p.m.shows Sirr entering the tunnel. Officials say that in video taken inside the tunnel, Sirr is at the front of the police line, pushing against rioters who are assaulting officers. He is also seen pushing directly against the police line, with his hand pressed against a police shield. He also participated in a struggle in which a group of rioters chanted “Heave! Ho!” in unison as they moved as a team against officers.

Warning video contains extreme language and violence

Sirr is a state employee who works at the University of Rhode Island’s Bay Campus in Narragansett as a nuclear facilities engineer for the R.I. Atomic Energy Commission. The commission runs Rhode Island’s only nuclear reactor.

According to the state records, Sirr has an annual salary of $82,009.

Laura Hart, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Administration. said late Wednesday afternoon that Sirr had been placed on paid administrative leave.

Bernard Sirr
Bernard Sirr

According to a story from The Providence Journal archives, Sirr was serving with the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Light Infantry at Fort Drum, New York, at the time of his wedding in 1999. The story said Sirr spent seven months of the previous year in Bosnia as part of the "quick-reaction force" whose role was to protect the United Nations peacekeepers.

He is the second Rhode Islander to be charged in connection with the riot at the Capitol. Timothy Desjardins of Providence was charged in November with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon or inflicting bodily injury; civil disorder; entering restricted grounds with a dangerous weapon; engaging in physical violence in restricted buildings or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and demonstrating in a Capitol building.

With reports from Wheeler Cowperthwaite

Email Tom Mooney at: tmooney@providencejournal.com 

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Jan 6. rioter from North Kingstown Rhode Island arrested by FBI