Proud Boys, Families, Angry Men Among NY's Accused Jan. 6 Rioters

·16 min read

NEW YORK — A year ago more than a thousand people stormed the U.S. Capitol as part of a multi-pronged attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Since Jan. 6, more than 700 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the deadly breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 220 charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, Justice Department officials said in December. The investigation remains ongoing.

Some of them were New Yorkers, identified through nationwide news coverage, photos, videos and commentary from the rioters themselves on social media, and tracked down by FBI investigators and self-named "sedition seekers." Six live on Long Island, and 13 in New York City.

Here’s an update on the Hudson Valley and "upstate" rioters — 26 of them — plus a former New Yorker, arrested in the Hudson Valley a few days afterward when he decided to flee to Switzerland and then tried to commit suicide on the New York State Thruway, a New Jersey resident who owns a tattoo parlor in Newburgh and a Connecticut man initially misidentified as a Westchester resident.

One is a member of the OathKeepers, an anti-government right-wing organization, who is accused of playing a central role in that group's planning and tactical operations.

Two of them were sought for months by sedition seekers who even gave them nicknames based on the photos and videos of the assault.

Three are members of the Proud Boys, a white supremacist group founded by Gavin McInnes, a local resident and native of Canada, which has labeled the Proud Boys a terrorist organization.

One was a former Marine and retired New York City policeman from Orange County whose rage was terrifying, said the Washington, D.C., police officer he attacked with fists and a pole.

Their motivations? One captioned a selfie "1776 has commenced." Another embraced the term "insurrectionists," telling a reporter that’s what the British government called the people who carried out the Boston Tea Party in 1773 and the situations were similar.

Although one told FBI agents he just wanted to tell members of Congress “we want our country back,” two of New York’s rioters saw the Jan. 6 attack as just the beginning.

Edward Jacob Lang said afterward on social media that he was going to keep fighting, FBI agents alleged. “We got some big things planned. We are not going to let them take our Constitutional Liberties. Our God-given rights are safe within the hearts of the patriots. So we won’t give up. You guys should not give up. Contact me if you want to be a part of the patriot movement.”

Prosecutors alleged that Peter J. Harding said afterward, “We learned how strong our numbers are. If we can take the Capitol building, there is nothing we can’t accomplish — county government, city government, town government, state government.”

Of the 29 described here, five have taken plea deals on a reduced number of charges.

The rest charged in the attack on the U.S. Capitol are in what promises to be a long legal process. In October the court ruled the government deserved more time to put its cases together “due to the number of individuals currently charged across the Capitol Attack investigation and the nature of those charges, the ongoing investigation of many other individuals, the volume and nature of potential discovery materials, and the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation by all parties taking into account the exercise of due diligence.”

In one case, that process took on a surreal aspect when a New Yorker fired his court-appointed lawyer and then tried to charge the government millions of dollars for the time and effort it would take to represent himself.

ROBERT BALLESTEROS of Mahopac. In a plea deal Oct. 28, he agreed to pay $500 in restitution. SEE: Mahopac Man Pleads Guilty To Entering Capitol During Riot. Sentencing is set for Jan. 27. He had been charged with entering and remaining on restricted grounds without lawful authority and disorderly or disruptive conduct with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions. SEE: Mahopac Man Charged In US Capitol Attack

ERIC BOCHENE from New Hartford pushed conspiracy theories afterward including telling someone the next day that the insurrection act had been signed (it wasn’t) and adding “Leftistbtrash are being executed right now.” He pleaded guilty to all counts against him in July; however, in September he fired his court-appointed lawyer and demanded the government pay him millions of dollars to cover the costs of defending himself, reported.

JAMES BONET of Albany pleaded guilty Oct. 7 to one count, entering and remaining on restricted grounds where the Vice President and Vice President-elect were visiting. Sentencing is scheduled on Feb. 10.

ROBERT CHAPMAN of Carmel apparently boasted about his participation on Bumble and the recipient turned him in, according to a federal affidavit. SEE: Dating App Leads To Charge For Carmel Man In U.S. Capitol Attack

ALBERT A. CIARPELLI of Syracuse, a grandfather, told FBI agents he had expected and planned to attend the inauguration for Trump, buying plane tickets Oct. 28 so he and his wife could fly to D.C. from their winter home in Florida. When Trump lost, he canceled the tickets and when the rally was announced he made new plans. “When thinking back to what occurred that day Ciarpelli stated that he was out of his mind and had never done anything like that before,” FBI agents said in court documents.

BRANDON FELLOWS of Albany. Arrested on Jan. 17, as of August he was still in jail, according to the latest update from the Department of Justice. Interviewed Jan. 12 by WNYT in Albany, he said he had one regret, sharing a joint in Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley's office as he sat with his feet up on a table. “When asked if he considered Capitol rioters to be patriots or seditionists, Fellows said he thinks the British government thought of colonists who took part in the Boston Tea Party as insurrectionists, which he considers analogous with the events of Jan. 6,” the station reported.

MATTHEW GREENE of Fabius. A member of the Proud Boys, he was charged with conspiracy as well as obstructing government, destruction of government property, aiding and abetting. He was jailed after his arrest in April. He was indicted with fellow New Yorkers William Joseph Pepe and Dominic Pizzola (see below), a trio who coordinated their actions, prosecutors said.

PETER J. HARDING of Elma. In the criminal complaint, the FBI included a photo showing Harding trying to set fire to news camera equipment destroyed by the mob. Harding, who told the Buffalo News he was only making a symbolic gesture, was in that paper again in September when he traveled to another town to threaten its Board of Education over the state’s mask mandate.

The FBI said Harding made a video Jan. 7 in which he said, “We learned how strong we are. We learned how strong our voices are. We learned how strong our numbers are. If we can take the Capitol building, there is nothing we can’t accomplish - county government, city government, town government, state government.”

JOHN JURAN of Strykersville. He took a plea deal Dec. 1, admitting that he spent 30 minutes inside the Capitol, including in the Parliamentarian’s Office, and later destroyed the photos he had taken there. Sentencing is set for Feb. 23.

EDWARD JACOB LANG of Newburgh was indicted on 11 counts. SEE: Newburgh Man Accused In Capitol Riot. Prosecutors said many open-source images show Lang fought officers defending an entrance to the Capitol for almost two and a half hours. FBI agents alleged Lang himself captioned one photo from outside the Capitol Building “1776 has commenced"

Arrested Jan. 16, Lang posted on Instagram “... going to keep on fighting for you guys, we got some big things planned. We are not going to let them take our Constitutional Liberties. Our God-given rights are safe within the hearts of the patriots. So we won’t give up. You guys should not give up. Contact me if you want to be a part of the patriot movement.”

Jailed since January, Lang asked to be released or to be allowed a laptop in his cell to help his attorneys defend him. In November, the DOJ responded with a court filing detailing expanded computer access for incarcerated defendants and adding materials including, “for example, thousands of hours of video footage from multiple sources (e.g., Capitol surveillance footage, body-worn-camera footage, results of searches of devices and Stored Communications Act (“SCA”) accounts, digital media tips, Parler video, and news footage), and hundreds of thousands of investigative documents including but not limited to interviews of tipsters, witnesses, investigation subjects, defendants, and members of law enforcement.” SEE: HV Man Accused In Capitol Riot Pleads For Release From Jail

CODY MATTICE of Hilton and JAMES PHILIP MAULT from Brockport weren’t arrested until October. The FBI and the "sedition seekers" spent months trying to find the men they dubbed #FenceSnatcher and #IronWorkerGuy. The Huffington Post reported "Both men were photographed and videotaped at the front of one of the most brutal battles on Jan. 6, which took place at the main tunnel entrance on the western side of the Capitol, where the inauguration ceremony is centered. In one video, 'Cody From Rochester' — who came to Washington in extensive protective gear and moments earlier had ripped away a police barrier — claimed he was not trying to fight anybody and was pushed."

PATRICK EDWARD MCCAUGHEY III was initially misidentified as a South Salem resident when he was arrested for assaulting an officer. SEE: Ridgefielder Accused Of Assaulting Cop In DC Riot Out On Bond

ROBERTO A. MINUTA, owner of a tattoo parlor in Newburgh, is accused of playing a central part in the Oath Keepers' planning and tactical operations, including nearby stores of weapons and ammunition. He stayed with the head of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes (who once worked as a congressional staffer for former Rep. Ron Paul), according to court documents. On the morning of Jan. 6 he provided security for Roger Stone, ABC News reported. Other Oath Keepers were tasked with other security details, including in the VIP tent as security for pro-Trump legislators and other speakers at the rally. The Oath Keepers had paramilitary gear including tactical vests, firearms, helmets and radio equipment, the FBI said.

Minuta is accused of later donning battle gear and riding to the Capitol Building in a golf cart to help his colleagues. "It's going down, guys; it's literally going down right now. Patriots storming the Capitol building ..." he is alleged to have said. He was arrested March 8 and a fifth superseding indictment was issued Aug. 4. The DOJ said jury trials were scheduled for Jan. 31 and April 19. Minuta has since changed his residence from New Jersey to Texas. SEE: Newburgh Tattoo Parlor Owner Charged In Capitol Riot.

Minuta had become known in the Hudson Valley in the spring of 2020 for defying the executive order closing non-essential businesses at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. SEE: Tattoo Parlor To Open In Defiance Of Cuomo's Order.

More than 20 suspected members of the Oath Keepers have been arrested, and some are facing charges of conspiracy, NPR reported in November, saying “the records suggest that the Oath Keepers' extremist ideology may have been more widely adopted than was initially understood.”

CHRISTOPHER PATRICK MOYNIHAN of Salt Point. A man later alleged to be Moynihan gained instant notoriety Jan. 6 when news broadcasts showed him rummaging through documents in the Senate chamber. According to court documents, “Moynihan can be seen using his cellphone to take pictures of official congressional notes and documents which are believed to detail the objections and votes of certain congressional members on the certification of electoral results. As he reviews the documents, Moynihan can be heard saying ‘There’s got to be something we can use against these fucking scumbags.’” SEE: Man Who Took Photos On Senate Floor Jan. 6 Arrested: Feds. He pleaded not guilty and awaits trial. SEE: Dutchess Man Accused Of Participating In Capital Riot Enters Plea

WILLIAM JOSEPH PEPE of Beacon (SEE: Hudson Valley 'Proud Boy' Indicted For Capitol Riot Conspiracy) is alleged to have traveled to D.C. with Dominic Pezzola (below) and Matthew Greene (see above).

DOMINIC PEZZOLA (aka Spaz, aka Spazzo, aka Spazzolini) of Rochester faces charges of assault and robbery on Jan. 6. FBI agents alleged that he was among the Proud Boys gathered as a group near the northwest pedestrian entrance. Pezzola ripped a riot shield from an officer and carried it into the Capitol. He shouted at another officer, “You think Antifa’s bad you just wait!” SEE: 2 NY Proud Boys Plead Not Guilty In D.C. Riot

Family members GREGORY RICHARD PURDY, ROBERT TURNER, GREGORY PURDY-SCHWARTZ and MATTHEW PURDY traveled together on a bus down to D.C., shoved officers, and recorded themselves on the way home confirming that they were calling for a revolution and critiquing the assault on the Capitol: “We had enough people, they just weren’t scrunched up enough.” Turner, Gregory Purdy and Matthew Purdy were arrested. 3 Hudson Valley Men Face Charges Related To Jan. 6 Riot.

JASON SABOL, born and raised in upstate New York, a geophysicist living in Colorado, is accused of helping to drag a D.C. metro police officer down the stairs of the Capitol building and beat him. He wore steel-toed boots and carried a radio and zip ties in his bag, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Sabol bought a plane ticket to Switzerland a few days later, planning to flee the country, but saw police at Logan Airport and got cold feet. He threw his phone off a bridge in Boston, convinced he was being tracked, and then headed west. Sabol was arrested in New City Jan. 11 after Clarkstown police found him in his car, covered in blood and with severe cuts to his arms and legs. He told them he had tried to commit suicide and that he was wanted by the FBI because "I was fighting tyranny in the DC Capitol." SEE: Man Accused Of Dragging Cop During Capitol Riot Arrested In HV.

At the Westchester Medical Center, Sabol told the FBI, after being shown a photo of himself standing over a police officer holding a baton, that "he could not recall if he hit the police officer with the baton because he was in a fit of rage and the details are cloudy.” A judge later refused his lawyers’ request for release from jail pending trial, saying the ticket to Switzerland proved Sabol was a literal flight risk. According to CNN, his lawyers said “Sabol was ‘lied to’ about the 2020 election by former President Donald Trump as well as Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and longtime political adviser Roger Stone."

THOMAS SIBICK of Buffalo is accused of ripping an officer’s badge off during the assault on the Capitol. According to court documents, he lied repeatedly to the FBI before finally admitting he took it home and buried it in a plastic baggie in his yard. He was arrested and jailed in March.

TRACI J. SUNSTRUM of Amherst pleaded guilty in November to one count of entering and remaining in a restricted building. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 10 and she has been ordered to pay $500 in restitution.

Father and son WILLIAM MICHAEL SYWAK of Hamburg and WILLIAM JASON SYWAK of Arcade traveled together to DC, FBI agents said. According to court documents, Michael told FBI agents neither he nor his son had gone inside the Capitol. The affidavit and the charges dispute that, including several photos of them both and also a graphic of the path Jason’s cellphone took through the building.

WILLIAM TRYON of Selkirk. After being pepper-sprayed at the entrance to the Capitol, he was interviewed by a reporter to whom he said “all we want to do is enter and tell our representatives we want our country back. We’re not going to take this.” He added about the riot “This is nothing so far.” The FBI said after leaving the capitol building Tryon obtained a microphone and led a chorus of “We’re Not Going To Take It” by Twisted Sister. Tryon took a plea bargain in October, pleading guilty to one count of entering a restricted building without lawful authority. Sentencing is set for Jan. 14.

WILLIAM VOGEL of Pawling. Vogel was “very vocal” about his part in the attack on the Capitol, the FBI alleged. He was also front and center in a photo that ran on News 12 that day and became part of the criminal complaint.

On Jan. 7 in a Facebook messenger exchange, he said “So they have these shadow twitter accounts and they're trying to report me to the FBI/DOJ and put me away for 10 years for Domestic Terrorism, because of my snapchat story,” adding that he simply walked into the lobby of the capital” and “didn’t even film anything crime wise.” SEE: Dutchess Man Accused Of Taking Part In Capitol Riot

ANTHONY VUKSANAJ of Mahopac was charged by the FBI after being arrested in June for a knifepoint robbery in Putnam County. When he denied being involved in the crime, local police got a search warrant for his phone. That turned up records from inside the Capitol Jan. 6; the FBI subsequently identified him in photos and he was arrested Sept. 30. SEE: Mahopac Man Charged In US Capitol Riot

DANIEL WARMUS of Alden. A tipster reported his involvement Jan. 12 after Warmus was overheard talking about his experience during a local dental appointment, the FBI said.

THOMAS WEBSTER of Orange County received a lot of news coverage, both because he’s a United States Marine Corps veteran and retired New York City Police Department Officer, and also because prosecutors said he was caught on film assaulting a city police officer using his fists and a flagpole.

According to the FBI, body camera footage shows him waving his finger at the officer before attacking and yelling: “You piece of shit. You Commie motherf..ers, man . . . Come on, take your shit off. Take your shit off.” He was carrying a large metal flagpole, with a red U.S. Marine Corps flag attached to it, which he used to attack the officer.

Jailed in February, after he pleaded not guilty to 7 counts, Webster was released to home confinement in June. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said video of his actions showed “some of the worst behavior, some of the most assaultive conduct that I’ve seen.” SEE: Former Cop Assaulted Officer During Capitol Riots: Feds.

Every case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

Editor's Note: Pennsylvania resident Brian Gundersen, who also faces charges connected to the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, is a graduate of Byram Hills High School in Armonk. In fact, he was identified by the varsity football jacket he wore. SEE: FBI Arrests Man ID'd At Capitol Riot By Varsity Jacket

This article originally appeared on the New City Patch