Saturday’s arrest by federal agents of a Phoenix man for his role in the Jan. 6 rioting of the U.S. Capitol has drawn attention to his prior activities in Arizona, including his alignment with the Patriot Movement.
Jacob Anthony Chansley, known professionally as Jake Angeli, was taken into custody Saturday on federal charges of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority. He is also charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Court records show Chansley, a professional actor, called the FBI in Washington DC the day after the riots to “voluntarily speak with law enforcement,” according to a statement of facts authored by a special agent of the U.S. Capitol Police.
“Your affiant and an FBI agent spoke on the phone with Chansley, who confirmed that he was the male in the face paint and headdress in the Vice President’s chair in the Senate,” the statement reads. “Chansley stated that he came as a part of a group effort, with other ‘patriots’ from Arizona, at the request of the President that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021.”
The special agent’s statement also noted investigators compared photos of Chansely -including his Arizona driver’s license- to images taken from the Capitol. The identification was easy, the agent noted, as Chansley has been photographed at numerous recent public events in his unique clothing (or lack thereof) and horned fur hat. He also has distinctive tattoos. [READ AGENT STATEMENT HERE]
Chansley’s case has been assigned to U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. It is unclear whether the arrest was made in D.C. or not, or whether he remains in custody.
The last few years Chansley has become a frequent attendee at pro-Trump and Patriot Movement of Arizona events. He has even counter-protested at some BLM protests.
On Jan. 6, while Chansley and tens of thousands of Trump supporters were in D.C., the Arizona Republican Party sponsored a Stop The Steal event at the State Capitol. Christy Blackman, a Republican precinct committeeman who helped organize the event, said some of the speeches were disrupted by “belligerent” attendees. Even Arizona GOP chairwoman Kelli Ward was targeted for heckling during and after her comments, Blackman said.
Many of the hecklers were identified as members of the Patriot Movement of Arizona and the Patriot Party of Arizona. Both organizations are fringe or splinter groups of the Arizona Republican Party and have gained traction since last summer when senate-candidate Daniel McCarthy lost his primary race against then-Senator Martha McSally.
Blackman said she was shocked to learn that “Buffalo Jake” as some call him in Arizona was involved in the Washington D.C. riot that resulted in several deaths.
“It is sad that they took their brand of chaos and intimidation our Nation’s capitol,” she said. “They are giving all Republicans a bad name.”
After Chansley’s arrest was announced, McCarthy posted a photograph of himself with Chansley aka Angeli with the hashtag #Freejake. In the days before the riot, McCarthy used social media to address his tribulations with the Republican Party, even calling Vice President Mike Pence “a fraud” who should be held personally liable for not fighting for election integrity.
“Mike orchestrated this mess with Doug [Ducey] and the rest of the defacto tyrant governors,” McCarthy wrote. “Covid, the elections, everything. He managed it with tyrants.”
For her part, Ward posted a video after the riots to blame “Barbarians” for storming the Capitol, noting they were on-scene before any rallygoers who had been listening to President Trump’s speech blocks away “were even able” to get there.
Ward added that some of those Barbarians were “agitators that were brought in,” possibly from BLM, Antifa, “or just outright anarchists.”
“Unfortunately, there were some foolish Trump supporters and MAGA supporters who followed right along like little sheep,” Ward said. “The people that perpetuated that violence and broke our laws have got to be prosecuted fully, to the fullest extent of the law.”