Federal authorities arrested at least fifteen more people on charges related to the January 6 Capitol disturbance in August, with charges as minor as trespassing continuing to accrue eight months after the event thanks to tips from internet sleuths, social media “friends,” and even family members, a Daily Wire analysis of court records showed.
The participants do not always fit in the popular mold of Trump cap-wearing, old white hillbillies.
Uliyahu Ben’Arie Hayah was “a black male with facial hair, wearing a dark-colored head covering, gray-colored long-sleeve outer garment, camouflage-pattern backpack on his chest, and an OD Green duffle bag,” according to court papers, which say he pushed an officer “back approximately ten feet into the crowd where the confrontation was occurring.”
“Law enforcement records also indicated that Hayah is a parolee supervised by a parole officer from the Virginia Department of Corrections in Fairfax County, Virginia following a criminal conviction in the Circuit Court of Maryland for Prince George’s County,” prosecutors said.
The FBI identified him, and other January 6 defendants, through tips from an online group called “Sedition Hunters” that reviewed images and videos from the day and combined them with Facebook profiles and other public sources.
In a video taken from the scene, Hayah complained of police brutality. “Some of those officers in there are decent officers. They did not want a physical confrontation but there are some officers in there that are evil […] they shot a woman from another side of the glass… They maced but I had a gas mask on.”
Philip Young of New Jersey was identified because his jacket showed the name of his labor union, the Boilermakers Union Local 28. He was charged on July 28.
Authorities conducted an exhaustive search for participants in the disturbance, including obtaining records from Google, Snapchat, Apple, Facebook, banks, and phone companies.
But many of the belated arrests were the result of alleged participants being identified and turned in to the FBI by internet sleuths.
Blas Santillan of Georgia, who was arrested on August 23, was turned in by a former high school classmate who saw a Snapchat video on the phone of a mutual acquaintance.
Joseph Irwin is a retired police officer from Kentucky. After an anonymous internet tipster told the FBI his name, a lieutenant on the police force confirmed to the Bureau that Irwin told him he “was on his way to meet up with friends at a march.” He was arrested on August 17.
Benjamin Scott Burlew of Oklahoma was arrested on August 19 for allegedly “physically grabbing and shoving [an Associated Press photographer] and pushing him forcefully over a low wall.” A tip was submitted to the FBI “by a group of internet sleuths (collectively, CW-1) performing open-source research utilizing social media and content posted on various online channels, including YouTube, in an attempt to identify BOLO offenders posted on the FBI’s Capitol Violence Webpage… CW-1 has previously provided assistance to the FBI in connection with the Capitol riots investigation,” prosecutors said.
Kelsey Wilson of Missouri was arrested after a Facebook friend of her husband corresponded with the FBI, and the FBI matched her and her husband Zach up with surveillance video in which they “can be seen walking about the Rotunda amongst several other unknown individuals. Z. WILSON and KELSEY WILSON did not appear to be mingling or congregating with any other individuals.”
“Your affiant submits there is also probable cause to believe that KELSEY LEIGH ANN WILSON violated 40 U.S.C. 5104(e)(2)(D) & (G), which makes it a crime to willfully and knowingly (D) utter loud, threatening, or abusive language, or engage in disorderly or disruptive conduct, at any place in the Grounds or in any of the Capitol Buildings with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of a session of Congress,” an agent wrote.
In other January 6 cases, even immediate family members have served as confidential informants to the FBI.
In June, someone who had known Michael Leon Brock of Mississippi for twenty years submitted a tip to the FBI that the person recognized him in a picture.
In the case of Guy Wesley Reffit of Texas, “one of Reffitt’s family members, who will be referred to as CW-1… surreptitiously recorded the defendant’s voice as the defendant narrated some of the videos shown on the [computer] for the family,” prosecutors wrote.