AMERICUS, Ga. (AP) — The FBI says a Georgia attorney accused of joining the attack on the U.S. Capitol riot bragged on social media that he was among the first rioters to break into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, and said she “probably would have been torn into little pieces” if they had found her there.
William McCall Calhoun Jr., 57, of Americus, Georgia, made his first court appearance on Friday after his arrest on charges including violent entry or disorderly conduct, tampering with a witness and entering a restricted building, according to court records. He remains jailed pending another hearing this week.
A second Georgia man, 58-year-old Michael Shane Daughtry of Pelham, also appeared before a federal judge Friday after being charged with illegally entering a restricted building or grounds. Daughtry told a police officer he was among the first group that forced its way past police barricades to the Capitol doors, but he backed away after being shot with rubber bullets, an FBI agent’s affidavit said.
In Calhoun’s case, an FBI agent’s affidavit said a citizen told the FBI about social media posts Calhoun made before, during and after participating in the Jan. 6 riot.
Calhoun wrote he was going to Washington “to give the GOP some back bone” as the House and Senate met to certify the November election won by Democratic President-elect Joe Biden. He boasted about pushing past police barricades and being in a group that broke into Pelosi’s office.
The Jan. 12 affidavit also cites Calhoun’s interview with the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in which Calhoun described his actions as “patriotic” acts of “civil disobedience.”
“Anyone who claims it was anything other than civil disobedience was not there, and they did not see it and they do not know,” he said. “I would freely admit that I trespassed, but I did it for the love of my country.”
Civil disobedience is by definition a non-violent form of political protest, in which participants peacefully violate a law they feel is unjust and then willingly submit to the penalty in order to demonstrate that the law should be changed. Calhoun, for his part, wrote on Parler in a post cited by the FBI that “we’re all coming back armed for war.”
Calhoun described himself as a practicing attorney in Americus for 30 years who primarily handled criminal defense cases. The FBI said Daughtry ran a business out of his home selling guns and ammunition. It was not immediately known if either of them had attorneys to represent them.
More than 125 people have been arrested so far on charges related to the violent insurrection led by supporters of President Donald Trump at the Capitol, where a Capitol police officer and four others were killed.