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The FBI this week raided the home of a Los Angeles-based actor who was among a group of right-wing protesters who entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, authorities said.
About 20 agents armed and outfitted in tactical gear raided the North Hollywood home of Siaka Massaquoi shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
Public records list Brian Burks, 42, at the same address. Burks did not return a call for comment, but his ex-wife, Luvelle Mendoza, confirmed Burks was briefly detained by federal authorities.
Mendoza said their two sons, ages 3 and 7, were at Burks' home when it was raided.
"My heart breaks," Mendoza said Saturday. "They had to see the big guns and I just think, I wasn't there to console them."
The raid took place because of the two men's associations on "a social media app," according to the law enforcement source. No further details of the raid were provided and it was unclear whether Massaquoi was arrested and released.
Massaquoi did not return calls from The Times for comment.
Mendoza said Burks called her about 6 a.m. the day of the raid to say he needed to drop the kids off.
"I knew that something bad had to happen for him to just abruptly call me," she said. "I support him in doing what he believes in. I don't agree with everything ... I just don't want my kids to be in the crossfire."
In an Instagram video posted on his account at chiefamericano after the raid, Massaquoi said: "I did nothing wrong on the 6th ... did nothing violent." Videos posted on social media from Jan. 6 showed him inside the Capitol building.
In the Instagram video, Massaquoi, filming with an unidentified friend, says "a lot of us are passionate," speaking of those who support former President Trump. He advised watchers to remove their children from public schools, but "If you want to keep them in there, run for school board so you can control what happens." Since Jan. 6, many Trump supporters have turned their energy to local political races.
Massaquoi, an actor who has played bit parts on shows including Fox’s “Lethal Weapon,” according to IMDb, also filmed himself at an anti-vaccine protest in late January at Dodger Stadium. Authorities shut down the vaccination site as a precaution.
He panned his camera to a line of cars outside the stadium, saying that the gates had been closed because authorities are “afraid that us here who are protesting will come and attack,” referring to the storming of the U.S. Capitol. A woman near him carried a poster that said, “This sign tested positive for COVID-19.”
In the video, he spoke with Nick Yaya, an actor and host of “The Free America Podcast,” which on its website describes itself as “a show that was created to destroy the lies and disinformation perpetuated by the Mainstream Media.”
“Essentially, what they’re doing right now is a big experiment with people,” Yaya said on his podcast, referring to vaccination efforts
On his Instagram account, Massaquoi also expressed support for an effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom. In a video posted in late December, he urged local businesses to “take back California” and open up on Jan. 1. A written post accompanying the video said that “tyrannical lockdowns” were not supported by data and science.
Yaya also said protesters did not intend to stop vaccinations, but were there to educate those waiting that the shots are “potentially deadly.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.