Two men photographed in the Senate chamber holding zip ties have now been charged in connection with Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, the Department of Justice announced Sunday.
Larry Brock of Texas and Eric Munchel of Tennessee, who became known as “zip-tie guy,” both face charges of unlawful entry on restricted property and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
According to the Justice Department’s press release, Munchel was the man pictured in a viral photo wearing tactical gear carrying zip ties in the Senate chamber. The New Yorker has reported that Brock is an Air Force veteran, having served in combat in Afghanistan.
“We wanted to show that we’re willing to rise up, band together and fight if necessary,” Munchel, who attended the riot with his mother, told The Sunday Times. “Same as our forefathers, who established this country in 1776. It was a kind of flexing of muscles.”
Federal prosecutors said Brock, who was arrested Sunday in Texas, was “wearing a green helmet, green tactical vest with patches, black and camo jacket, and beige pants holding a white flex cuff, which is used by law enforcement to restrain and/or detain subjects,” when he illegally stormed the Capitol.
Brock, who lives in the suburbs of Dallas, told The New Yorker that he traveled to the Capitol to demonstrate peacefully and found the zip ties on the ground.
“I wish I had not picked those up,” he told The New Yorker. “My thought process there was I would pick them up and give them to an officer when I see one... I didn’t do that because I had put them in my coat, and I honestly forgot about them.”
“I know it looks menacing,” he went on to say. “That was not my intent.”
John Scott-Railton, a researcher at the University of Toronto, tipped off law enforcement to Brock’s identity, according to The New Yorker, identifying him through the patches he was wearing as well as facial-recognition software.
Zip ties are used by some police departments to restrain detainees in lieu of handcuffs, leading some counter-terrorism experts to speculate that the rioters were planning on taking hostages, as the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.
Five deaths have been linked to the riot. Four of the dead were pro-Trump insurrectionists, among them Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by authorities after attempting to break into the Speaker’s Lobby.
One Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, died after allegedly being struck with a fire extinguisher by rioters.
Authorities have detained several people in connection with Wednesday’s insurrection. They include Richard Barnett of Arkansas, pictured posing in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office; Adam Johnson of Florida, who became infamous after a photo of him smiling while absconding with Pelosi’s lectern went viral; and Jake Angeli of Arizona, who became known as the “QAnon Shaman” for his questionable beliefs and attire.
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