Second SC man arrested in Jan. 6 Capitol riot said he posed as 'Antifa,' FBI alleges




  • In World/Europe
  • 2021-03-02 18:00:19Z
  • By Raleigh News and Observer

The FBI has arrested a second South Carolina man in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

William Robert Norwood III of Greer has been charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority, violent and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, obstruction of justice and theft of government property.

Norwood, arrested Feb. 25 by the FBI, has been detained in jail. Records in his case were unsealed Monday, and federal authorities did not publicize his arrest. Law officers sometimes ask a judge to seal cases while they continue gathering evidence that may concern other suspects.

Among the FBI's evidence in the case is a Jan. 5 text message from Norwood that says, "Way ahead of you. I'm dressing in all black. I'll look just like ANTIFA... I'll get away with anything," according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

A day after the riot, Jan. 7, Norwood texted, "It worked...I got away with things others were shot or arrested for," according to the complaint.

Norwood was turned in to the FBI by a person who was connected to a text message group chat that Norwood sent texts to before and after the Capitol riots. In the texts, Norwood discussed what he did at the Capitol.

Other evidence concerning Norwood includes video surveillance from inside the U.S. Capitol, the complaint said.

It is not clear which group, if any, Norwood was affiliated with.

Another text message from Norwood says that he took something from a police officer who was assaulted and then sent a selfie of himself "wearing what appears to be a U.S. Capitol Police tactical vest underneath a zipped up camouflage jacket," according to the FBI complaint.

A later text message from Norwood says, "I fought 4 cops, they did nothing. When I put my red hat on, they pepper balled me," according to the FBI complaint.

In a Jan. 22 interview in Greenville with FBI agents, Norwood "told agents that he traveled with his wife to Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021, to attend President Trump's rally."

In the FBI interview, Norwood denied assaulting law enforcement officers "and claimed that any statements he made in text messages were meant to make Norwood sound tough. Norwood repeatedly claimed that he only attempted to help law enforcement, not hurt them," the complaint said.

"Norwood stated that as he approached the Capitol, he witnessed law enforcement attempting to clear the crowd with explosive and chemical devices. Norwood said that he then continued into the crowd and eventually became separated from his wife," the complaint said.

Norwood also told agents he entered the U.S. Capitol Rotunda after being sprayed in the face with a chemical irritant.

As he entered the Capitol, two U.S. Capitol Police Officers were waving people inside, and one of the officers said, "I'm on your side," Norwood told agents.

Norwood also told agents that after entering the U.S. Capitol building, he wanted to leave but could not because of the crowd. At different points in the interview, Norwood claimed to have helped protect multiple officers from being assaulted, including by forming a human chain to protect certain officers, according to the FBI complaint.

In mid-January, federal agents arrested the first South Carolina man alleged to have been involved in the Capitol riots.

That man, Andrew Hatley, drove "from his residence in South Carolina on January 5, 2020, in a red Ford Mustang, early 2000s model, to attend the protests for the election," according to an FBI complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

Hatley is charged with engaging in disruptive conduct with the intent to impede government business and knowingly entering a restricted building without lawful authority.

The riots broke out after thousands of people to march on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to protest President Trump's Nov. 3 election loss and the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the Electoral College. The certification, a formal procedure of counting votes, was taking place at the Capitol that day.

Arriving at the Capitol, a smaller group of up to 1,000 or more breached Capitol security and broke into the Senate and House chambers. Lawmakers had fled only minutes before.

Federal agents are also investigating a third man in connection to illegal acts on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol. James Giannakos was arrested last week on a charge unrelated to the riots.

A warrant in the case says that evidence now in possession of the FBI shows "probable cause" that James Giannakos "participated in the capital riots of Jan. 6, 2021."

Giannokos has been linked to the Proud Boys and came back to South Carolina with a U.S. Capitol Police riot shield, according to court records. Giannakos, who lived in a house in Gilbert in Lexington County, is currently detained in a local jail after waiving his rights to a bond hearing.

This story will be updated.

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