Former Florida cop went live on Facebook during the Capitol riot. Now he is charged

A former North Miami Beach police officer has been arrested for entering the U.S. Capitol building during the Jan. 6 insurrection seeking to prevent Congress from certifying the presidential election results, according to records unsealed in federal court Sunday.

Nicholes Lentz, 41, was arrested Friday and charged in a criminal complaint with entering a restricted building or grounds and disruptive and disorderly conduct on restricted grounds.

An FBI affidavit in support of the arrest cites a video clip Lentz posted on Facebook live from inside the Capitol, in which he says: “America has spoken. You can not stop millions of people.”

Lentz adds: “We’re not here to hurt any cops, of course. I love my boys in blue, but this is overwhelming for them. There’s no way they can hold us back.”

The Miami Herald first reported Lentz’s involvement in the riot on Jan. 11.

The FBI interviewed Lentz at his home in Boynton Beach on Friday, and Lentz admitted to being inside the Capitol building during the riot, according to court records. He told the FBI he “drove through the night from Florida to Washington, D.C., arriving in the early hours of Jan. 6” to attend a rally being held by former President Donald Trump.

Lentz told FBI agents he entered the Capitol building through the front door and stayed on the ground floor, remaining there for about two hours. He denied committing any acts of physical violence and wasn’t charged with doing so.

“Lentz believed no one at the U.S. Capitol seemed concerned about trespassing, nor were there any warning signs regarding trespassing,” the FBI affidavit says. “He stated that, despite the foregoing, ‘of course you know you’re trespassing.’ ”

After his arrest on Friday, Lentz appeared in court via Zoom in the Southern District of Florida. His bond was set at $25,000 and he posted bail, records show. His next court hearing was set for Feb. 26 via Zoom in the District of Columbia.

Lentz, a former U.S. Marine, was a North Miami Beach police officer from June 2016 until August 2020. He also worked for the Fort Pierce police department in St. Lucie County from 2014 to 2016.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Lentz voluntarily left his position in North Miami Beach last August and is not currently a sworn police officer in the state.

Lentz could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday night.

Miami Herald staff writer David Ovalle contributed reporting.