Jake Angeli, icon of the Jan. 6 riots, released from halfway house, returns to Capitol
The Phoenix man who became the most prominent figure at the raid of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, with his painted face and fur hat topped with horns was released from a halfway house on Thursday and wasted no time getting into the getup that made him famous.
Jake Angeli was at the Arizona State Capitol by 10 a.m. on Thursday, in full red, white and blue face paint. He brought along a photo and video crew and posed in the mall between the state legislative buildings and the tower that houses the governor's office.
It is the spot where, since at least 2019, Angeli would bang a drum and give loud screeds about global corruption. On Thursday, Angeli had a drum with him, but did not use it.
"First day out, don't need a noise complaint," he said.
Angeli said that being at the state Capitol was "like a breath of fresh air."
Angeli noted that the media had dubbed him the QAnon Shaman, a reference to his adherence to both the QAnon conspiracy theory and his elaborate shamanistic tattoos. But, Angeli said, he eschewed that name.
"My shamanic name is Yellowstone Wolf," he said, "and I’m proud to be an American, baby."
About 90 minutes before his appearance at the Capitol, Angeli, 35, tweeted a photo of himself wearing a white sports jacket and an American-flag themed tie. His head was topped not with fur, but with a flag-themed bandana.
"One small step for this man, and one GIANT leap for all mankind..." the tweet read.
He later retweeted a roughly five-minute video from an account called the "Forbidden Truth Podcast" which kicked off with Angeli thanking God while standing in front of what appears to be a large Native American dreamcatcher.
In the video, Angeli said he forgave the government for imprisoning him. He also mentioned continuing global corruption, which he said was becoming more obvious.
In the video, Angeli said that he had "most certainly learned numerous lessons during the test which God has graced me with over the last two-and-a-half years."
Angeli continued by saying schools, governments and cultural upbringings have failed many people facing a world in "turmoil" and stressed that patience and internal peace were vital.
He said many people who experienced what he did would likely be outraged, seemingly referring to his imprisonment, but that he instead would embrace forgiveness.
"So, in the spirit of Christ's example, I would like to use this official statement to make it extremely clear that I have no animosity or hatred toward the United States federal government," he said, "and I have forgiven my captors and I pray for them because that is what Christ would do."
Angeli then asserted that the world isn't getting worse, but that global corruption is merely growing more obvious.
He concluded the video with a quote misattributed to Mahatma Gandhi.
"First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win," he said.
"So it seems I've already undergone the first three stages of this process," Angeli said. "Now all there's left to do is win."
Angeli was set to speak at a welcome home celebration on Sunday at the Reformed Living Bible Church in Scottsdale.
An organizer of the event, Susan Wood of Scottsdale, said that the event would be a chance to reintroduce Angeli to the public.
Wood said she met Angeli at the various protests and marches he participated in during 2019 and 2020. "He was always just so happy and energetic and fun and nice," she said. "We were like, what is he doing in prison? He's not dangerous or anything."
Wood said the room at the church, which she was renting, held 200 people. She expected it to be full. "He's got a lot of fans," Wood said.
Angeli was also selling merchandise that featured his iconic image on reusable water bottles, phone cases and apparel.
A T-shirt with a black-and-white drawing of Angeli over the words “Shaman Life,” was selling for $33. Similarly-styled hoodies, albeit featuring a curse word, were listed for $60. A dress whose bottom featured a full close up of Angeli’s painted face and whose top had a heart filled with a flag motif and outlined with the words, “Everything I do, I do it for you,” was selling for $55.
Screenshots of the website, forbiddenacademy.myshopfy.com, were posted Thursday by the Twitter account, AZ Right Wing Watch.
The website also added the ability for consultations with Angeli. One-on-one sessions were listed at $500.
Angeli had been held at the federal prison in Safford, but was released to a residential facility in March.
He had been sentenced in November 2021 to 41 months in prison. He pleaded guilty to a felony count of obstructing a civil proceeding.
Angeli was also sentenced to three years of supervised probation, which started on Thursday.
Angeli, who was charged under his legal name of Jacob Chansley, was not accused of any acts of violence or vandalism while in the U.S. Capitol. But prosecutors said he played a key role in the riot by goading on the crowd through shouts through his megaphone.
Angeli had made himself, and his megaphone, a fixture at protests in the Phoenix area since at least 2019. He participated in all manner of protest marches and rallies, including becoming a leader at rallies outside the Maricopa County election headquarters in late 2020 protesting the defeat of President Donald Trump.
Angeli would also carry a sign that read: "Q Sent Me." He told The Arizona Republic he wore his garb to attract attention to the wide-ranging conspiracy involving Q, who adherents believed was an anonymous federal official posting cryptic clues to hidden truths on online bulletin boards. The central − and false − theory was that Trump would dismantle a global conspiracy of elite leaders and celebrities engaged in crimes against children.
Angeli drove to Washington D.C. to attend a speech by Trump on Jan. 6, 2021. He then joined others marching to the U.S. Capitol. Video showed him among the first to enter after windows were broken.
A judge said that Angeli "quite literally spearheaded" the breach of the U.S. Capitol.
With his eye-catching get-up, Angeli attracted attention. He was seen in multiple videos and photos of the riot.
He became the face of the riot, with his iconic look being mocked on late-night talk shows.
During his time inside the Capitol, Angeli strode into the U.S. Senate chambers and, ignoring the pleas of the sole police officer there, took the dais. He left a note for Vice President Mike Pence that said, “It’s only a matter of time. Justice is coming!”
After Trump sent a video message through Twitter asking his supporters to leave the Capitol, Angeli was seen on video using his megaphone to blast Trump’s wishes to the crowd, asking them to clear the building.
At his sentencing, Angeli took responsibility but said he was not a danger to society.
"I may be guilty of this crime, absolutely," he said. "But I am in no way, shape or form a dangerous criminal. I'm not a domestic terrorist. I'm not an insurrectionist.
"I'm a good man who broke the law," he said.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Jake Angeli, icon of the Jan. 6 riots, back in costume after release