Federal prosecutors say 49-year-old Daniel Caldwell used a chemical spray against a line of officers who were preventing rioters from entering the Capitol. It happened amid a massive uproar with police, who used batons and pepper spray to drive the crowd away, according to footage of the incident cited in court documents.
Hours after the riot, Caldwell spoke about the incident in a video that was posted on the far-right social media site Parler, according to prosecutors. The clip was one of hundreds of videos subsequently published by ProPublica.
“They pepper sprayed us. They kept spraying. I was like, ‘Dude, do it again and we sprayed you again.’ And it did. And I sprayed again, I got like 15 of them,” Caldwell said in the video.
He has been charged with four crimes: assaulting federal agents, obstructing law enforcement, knowingly entering a restricted building, and disturbing public order on the Capitol grounds. An attorney is not on Caldwell’s list in the public court file and has not had a chance to plead guilty.
A message posted to Caldwell’s LinkedIn profile on Saturday was not responded to.
The use of chemical aerosols has been a major focus of the investigation into the death of United States Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. CNN reported that prosecutors believe he was attacked with bear spray, which contributed to his death a day later. There is no known connection in court documents or elsewhere between Sicknick’s death and the charges against Caldwell.
Chemical sprays were one of many weapons used by rioters during the January 6 insurrection. According to an analysis by CNN, other weapons confiscated or used in or around the Capitol that day include firearms, a metal baseball bat, a fire extinguisher, a wooden club, a spear, a stun gun, crutches, a flagpole, stolen police shields, a wooden beam, a hockey stick and knives.