Woman urged Capitol rioters to ‘mace’ photographer who was being attacked, FBI says

·2 min read
Rioters at the US Capitol on 6 January (AFP via Getty Images)
Rioters at the US Capitol on 6 January (AFP via Getty Images)

A Pennsylvania woman who allegedly filmed an attack against a photojournalist from The New York Times during the Capitol riot on 6 January has been arrested and accused of urging rioters to “mace” the woman.

An FBI affidavit on Monday alleged that Sandra Weyer, of Mechanicsburg, shouted for the female photojournalist to be “maced” after she was assaulted and shoved to the floor of a stairwell in Congress by “four to five men”, who took her cameras and broke a lens during the Capitol riot.

Ms Weyer, seen wearing a “2020 Trump” sweatshirt in surveillance footage, followed the photojournalist running towards the men, asking for camera equipment they had allegedly stolen from her, saying it was her “livelihood”. They reportedly pushed her back and fled.

In a video the FBI believes was filmed for a Facebook live, Ms Weyer videoed the photojournalist getting off the floor following her assault and run after the men.

That was when Ms Weyer shouted “Get her out, mace her” and “f***ing traitor”, the affidavit alleged.

She also recorded a further video for Facebook in which she said the photojournalist was “anti-Trump, let’s put it that way, that’s why they removed her.”

“I seen no riots,” Ms Weyer allegedly told a friend on Facebook in the aftermath of the 6 January riot. “I saw Patriots sick of being lied to and the election being stolen from us! I saw no violence from the Patriots!”

The photojournalist told the FBI that when the men approached her before the assault, they asked her “Who do you shoot for?” When she did not reply, they reportedly grabbed her press ID and assaulted her.

Although the affidavit did not name the photojournalist, The New York Times’s Erin Schaff was reportedly assaulted during the Capitol riot, with many of the details aligning with the accusations against Ms Weyer.

Ms Weyer was charged with offences including obstruction of an official proceeding, disorderly and disruptive conduct and violent entry.

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