Western NY man arrested after attending riot at US Capitol
CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (AP) — A western New York man who told a Buffalo TV station he tried to light media equipment on fire as a “symbolic gesture” outside the U.S. Capitol last week was arrested by the FBI on Wednesday.
Pete Harding was arrested at about 4 p.m. at a friend’s home in Elma, New York, one day after the FBI released a poster that linked him to the pro-Trump rally that turned into a breach of the Capitol on Jan. 6, WIVB-TV reported.
The FBI searched Harding’s home in Cheektowaga earlier in the day when he was not there.
Harding did not respond to emailed and telephone messages, nor did he respond to a Facebook message seeking comment before his arrest Wednesday.
He told the TV station last week that he did not mean to be a threat when igniting the equipment.
His attorney, Jason DiPasquale, told the TV station that the charges his client faces are unclear. Harding is expected to appear in federal court in Buffalo on Thursday.
“Not only was he there with the intent to protest peacefully, he entered the building peacefully under the permission of Capitol Police who let protestors in,” DiPasquale said.
The day after the violence, Harding, who frequently posts videos on Facebook, was on the site for more than an hour, during which he admitted being inside the Capitol, “walking right past Capitol police,” he said.
“If we can take the Capitol building, there is nothing we can’t accomplish,” he said.