Federal prosecutors say Daniel Caldwell, 49, used a chemical spray against a line of officers that were blocking rioters from entering the Capitol. It happened amid a massive melee with police, who used batons and pepper spray to fend off the crowd, according to footage of the incident that was cited in court filings.
Hours after the riot, Caldwell spoke about the incident in a video that was posted to the far-right social media site Parler, according to prosecutors. The clip was among hundreds of videos later published by ProPublica.
“They sprayed us with pepper spray. Kept spraying. I was like, ‘Dude, do it again and we spray you back.’ And he did. And I sprayed back, got like 15 of them,” Caldwell said in the video.
He has been charged with four crimes: assaulting federal officers, obstructing law enforcement, knowingly entering a restricted building, and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. An attorney isn’t listed for Caldwell in the public court docket, and he hasn’t had a chance to enter a plea.
A message sent on Saturday to Caldwell’s LinkedIn profile wasn’t answered.
The use of chemical sprays has been a major focus of the investigation into the death of US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. CNN reported that prosecutors believe he was attacked with bear spray, which contributed to his death one 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 a CNN analysis, other weapons confiscated or used in or around the Capitol that day includes 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.