A Black Lives Matter activist who faces charges in Utah over a counter-protest he allegedly led against a pro-police group has been arrested and charged in connection with last week’s Capitol incursion, the Department of Justice said Thursday.
John Earle Sullivan is the founder of a group called Insurgence USA, which says its goals are “to end police brutality” and “to empower and uplifting black and indigenous voices.”
“We want to build local powers to enable the community to intervene in violence enacted by the state and government vigilantes,” the group’s website says.
One of the men who was part of the siege of the Capitol building is John Earle Sullivan, an extreme BLM activist from Utah. He was arrested & charged in July 2020 over a BLM-antifa riot where drivers in Provo were threatened & one was shot. https://t.co/C0WQsEfcIG pic.twitter.com/Kxm5du2Ozs
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) January 7, 2021
“The United States obtained a video of Sullivan, posted on YouTube, in which, while attending a protest in Washington, D.C., Sullivan can be seen telling a crowd, over a microphone, ‘we about to burn this s–t down,’ ‘we got to rip Trump out of office … f—ing pull him out of that s–t … we ain’t waiting until the next election … we about to go get that motherf—er,'” the affidavit said. “Sullivan then can be seen leading the crowd in a chant of, ‘it’s time for a revolution.'”
The document said Sullivan stated in an interview that “he was wearing a ballistic vest and gas mask while there. He showed the interviewing agent the ballistic vest. He further stated that he entered the U.S. Capitol with others through a window that had been broken out. Sullivan stated he followed the crowd as the crowd pushed past U.S. Capitol Police and followed the crowd into the U.S. Capitol.”
The affidavit said that in a video Sullivan provided to authorities, he “can be heard in the video saying at various points: ‘There are so many people. Let’s go. This s–t is ours! F— yeah,’ ‘We accomplished this s–t. We did this together. F— yeah! We are all a part of this history,’ and ‘Let’s burn this s–t down.'”
The affidavit outlines one act of vandalism.
“The camera then pans to show more of the window and a broken pane can be seen that was not broken on Sullivan’s approach to the window: Sullivan can then be heard saying, ‘I broke it. My bad, my apologies. Well they already broke a window, so, you know, I didn’t know I hit it that hard. No one got that on camera.’ Sullivan then exits the office.”
Sullivan had provided multiple interviews to media organizations about his experiences, and said he saw the shooting of Ashli Babbitt, who was slain during the rioting.
Last year in Utah, Sullivan was charged with rioting, making a threat of violence, and criminal mischief, according to KSL-TV, after organizing a June counter-protest against a pro-police event.
“During the course of the protest, two handguns were brandished and two shots fired toward a motorist traveling to Home Depot. Vehicles were damaged by protestors as well as by John Sullivan,” an affidavit said.
The affidavit said Sullivan was caught on video threatening to beat a woman in an SUV and later kicked her door, denting it.
A motorist was shot in the protest.
“Sullivan was seen with Jesse Taggart — the man charged with shooting the motorist — throughout the protest,” KSL reported.
“As a protest organizer, John Sullivan is heard talking about seeing the shooting, looking at the gun and seeing smoke coming from it. John did not condemn the attempted murder nor attempt to stop it nor aide in its investigation by police,” the affidavit said.
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