A leftist activist who is facing criminal charges in Utah stemming from a “defund the police” rally was arrested and charged for his role in the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the Justice Department said Thursday night.
John Sullivan, of Utah, was charged with civil disorder, disorderly conduct, and entering a restricted building without authority.
Mr. Sullivan is the first left-leaning activist to be arrested in connection with the Capitol riot. The majority of those charged so far are supporters of President Trump.
Mr. Sullivan, who leads the progressive activist group Insurgence USA, has admitted to media outlets that he entered the Capitol last week after a pro-Trump mob stormed the building. However, he maintains he was there to document the mayhem, not to riot.
Prosecutors tell a different story, however. They say a video he shared with the FBI shows him encouraging protesters to cause property damage.
“We gotta get this s—t burned,” and “it’s our house,” he can be heard yelling at rioters, according to an affidavit signed by an FBI special agent.
The affidavit also states that Mr. Sullivan also told the FBI agent that he entered the Capitol through a broken window while wearing a ballistic vest.
As protesters climbed over a wall near the Capitol entrance, Mr. Sullivan is allegedly screaming, “You guys are f—ing savage. Let’s go!” according to court documents.
In an interview with Rolling Stone published this week, Mr. Sullivan said he egged on the protesters to build a rapport with them.
“I had to relate to these people, and build trust in the short amount of time I had there to get where I need to go,” he said in an interview. “To the front of the crowd to see the dynamic between the police and the protesters, because nobody wants to see the backs of people’s heads from a far-off distance.”
Mr. Sullivan is facing charges of rioting in criminal mischief in connection with a June 30 anti-police brutality riot in Provo, Utah. A truck driver was shot at the protest and police say he organized the event and, after the shooting, spoke with one of the men who allegedly fired the gun.