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Supporters of US President Donald Trump gather in front of the US Capitol Building in Washington, US, January 6, 2021. — Reuters pic
Supporters of US President Donald Trump gather in front of the US Capitol Building in Washington, US, January 6, 2021. — Reuters pic

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WASHINGTON, Nov 24 ― A 19-year-old man has been arrested and charged with assault and other counts related to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol for allegedly attacking police officers with bear spray and breaking through a US Capitol window with a baseball bat, the Justice Department said yesterday.

A criminal complaint filed in federal court in Washington, DC, accused Aiden Bilyard of Cary, North Carolina, with seven riot-related criminal offenses, including felony charges of civil disorder and assaulting a police officer with a dangerous weapon.

Bilyard was arrested Monday in Raleigh, North Carolina, and released after an initial court appearance in federal court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Court records on Tuesday afternoon did not list a defence lawyer for Bilyard.

A mob of supporters of Republican former President Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6 in a failed attempt to prevent formal congressional certification of his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

According to a statement of facts by prosecutors, video shot by a Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police officer’s body-worn camera on January 6 shows Bilyard, wearing a gray Harvard sweatshirt and spraying a line of uniformed police outside the Capitol with an orange-coloured liquid spray that investigators believe was bear spray.

Investigators said video taken later that day shows Bilyard with a group of rioters in front of a large Capitol window. After being handed a baseball bat by a fellow demonstrator, Bilyard shatters the window and “then turns to face the crowd and appears to clap and shout” to encourage rioters to enter the Capitol building.

Investigators said Bilyard then entered a Senate room through the broken window.

Nearly 700 people have been charged with participating in the Jan. 6 riot, and around 210 people have been charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding police officers or employees during the attack. ― Reuters


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