August 25, 2022

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. released news of the five arrests on Wednesday. They seem like an especially awful group of folks:

On Jan. 6, the five defendants were among those illegally gathered on the Capitol grounds. Cole wore a tactical vest. Preller wore a tactical vest with a chemical irritant spray attached to the front, as well as large goggles and a green helmet with the word “monster” on the back. He also carried a long black walking stick and wore a shirt that read “waterboarding instructor.” Rockholt wore a tactical vest and carried what appeared to be a knife in his front right pocket; he also wore a baseball helmet. Bensch wore a tactical vest, as well as a military-style helmet with goggles and a black gas mask. He also carried a chemical irritant in front of the vest.

Cole, Crowley, Preller and Rockholt were in a group that engaged in a confrontation with law enforcement officers in the tunnel area of the Capitol’s Lower West Terrace. Bensch remained just outside. While inside the tunnel, Cole, Preller, Crowley and Rockholt confronted and assisted the crowd in confronting the officers that were preventing the tunnel and Capitol from being breached. They added their force, momentum, bodies, and efforts to the other rioters in a “heave-ho” effort that put pressure on the police line. As a direct result of the actions of the rioters in the tunnel at that time, the mob penetrated deeper, pushing the police line back.

Once officers finally were able to repel Cole, Preller, Crowley, Rockholt, and others from the tunnel, Rockholt picked up a clear riot shield with a Capitol Police seal before leaving the area. Bensch, meanwhile, used one of his chemical irritants to spray the face of an individual who was an unknown member of the crowd, even though that person posed no threat to him.

They don’t seem particularly bright, though. According to WUSA9, Brian Preller was identified after he sent an image to a female acquaintance, holding a walking stick he allegedly carried on Jan. 6, and with a message, “Washington DC January 6th… I was one of the ones in the capital.” In another message, he allegedly said he was “[c]ontinuing to build my 3% army so I can overthrow the federal government.”

WUSA9 also reported that as many as 40 members of the B Squad stayed on the same floor of a Washington, D.C. hotel on the night of January 5, 2021. There, they were allegedly told by the “group’s leader, “We are going to have four more years of Trump, we all know that,” and warned about the possibility of violence due to “communist agitators like Black Lives Matter and Antifa.”

NBC News identified that leader of the group as former House candidate Liggett. His Twitter profile pic shows him aiming an assault rifle. His tweets include such charming thoughts as, “Your liberal neighbors would not have fought for independence. They would have turned you into the British. Remember that when you invite them to your BBQ. 1776.”

But it seems quite possible the “tough guy” flipped on his former buddies. There’s no mention of him in the U.S. Attorney’s statement about the five arrests. But I did see that he was subpoenaed by the January 6 committee in May. I did not see any follow up about it.

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