A tip from the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office led to a Maryland man being arrested and charged in connection to the deadly riots in January at the U.S. Capitol.
Robert Maurice Reeder is accused of entering the Capitol building without having authority to do so, according to a statement of facts filed in the District of Columbia’s federal court. Reeder has been charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and knowingly entering a restricted building, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case. The case was filed Feb. 24.
The FBI was tipped off to Reeder’s presence at the Jan. 6 riots when the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office reached out to them. Around Jan. 7, the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office submitted a tip to the FBI that facial recognition software had identified two Maryland residents as possible matches to photos released by the federal agency following the storming of the Capitol, according to the documents. One of those individuals was identified as Reeder.
Harford County State’s Attorney Albert Peisinger declined to answer specific questions because the matter is ongoing but said his office is cooperative with federal inquiries.
“The Office of the State’s Attorney for Harford County cooperates with any and all federal investigations and inquiries and based upon that any other questions would have to be referred to the FBI,” he said.
The FBI’s press office did not answer specific questions about Reeder’s arrest or where he lives in Maryland.
Reeder’s attorney, Robert Charles Bonsib, did not respond to a request for comment.
Reeder contacted the government through a lawyer around Jan. 19, according to the documents, and provided a roughly 22-minute compilation of photos and videos he took on his cell phone at the riot, the documents state.
Wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, Reeder is shown on the National Mall, in front of the Capitol building and then inside it during points of the video, according to the documents.
Reeder enters the Capitol building several times, including simply walking into it after asking Capitol Police Officers “Is there anywhere where I can get water?” the documents state.
“An officer responds: ‘We don’t have any water in here, sir. There’s some outside,’” according to the documents. Reeder then walked past the officers, opens an interior door, and proceeds into the Capitol building, the documents state.
Inside the Capitol, Reeder took photos and videos of various rooms and hallways and seemed to shout “do not destroy anything,” according to the documents.
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In a video timestamped 2:48 to 2:58 p.m., Reeder appears to ask a Capitol Police officer the quickest way out. That officer redirects him. But another video clip about 12 minutes later shows him chanting “USA” with a crowd of people approaching the open doors to the Capitol, the documents state.
Between 3:10 and 3:38 p.m., Reeder recorded an assault on a police officer inside the Capitol building before telling him “you need to retreat,” the documents state. In another clip timestamped 4:05 to 4:30 p.m., Reeder tells the camera that he is leaving the Capitol. He says he walked by a woman who was shot and claims that he was “one of the last people out,” the documents state.
“I was in there for over half an hour. I got gassed several times inside the Capitol, many times outside the Capitol. Got shot with pepper balls. It was f------ nuts,” Reeder said in the video, according to the documents. “We had to do...ah... battle with the Police inside. It was crazy...absolutely insane.”
Reeder is not the first Marylander to be arrested in connection to breech of the Capitol. At least six others have been charged, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
Among those from Maryland charged for participating were a 26-year-old Frederick man photographed with his work badge inside the Capitol and a 33-year-old man who wore a bulletproof vest and carried a handgun with a high-capacity magazine. Another man from Clarksburg allegedly hit a police officer with a “lacrosse type stick” during the chaos. A 26-year-old from Silver Spring wore white nationalist apparel and posed with a Confederate battle flag perched atop scaffolding on Capitol grounds, and a 42-year-old from Baltimore County was also charged with participating in the riots Jan. 6.
On that day, a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters attended a rally hosted by the president south of the White House before storming the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the presidential election results, which Trump falsely claimed to have been fraudulent. Trump’s supporters penetrated barricades and made their way into the Capitol, where lawmakers were evacuated from the chambers and locked down.
Five died people died during the chaos, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer and Ashli E. Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran from San Diego who’d lived in Annapolis and Southern Maryland.