Federal prosecutors charged a Texas couple with assaulting police officers during the January riots the U.S. Capitol, the Department of Justice announced Thursday — but one of the alleged assailants later groused on Facebook that the police used pepper spray to subdue him.
Mark and Jalise Middleton from Forestburg, a small town in north Texas, were arrested Wednesday and charged with assaulting police, disorderly conduct and other offenses.
The Middletons allegedly brawled with at least two D.C. Metropolitan Police officers at a crowded barricade outside the Capitol, with Mark yanking one officer’s arm while his wife tried to slap the same cop, according to body camera footage reviewed by the FBI.
Police told the rioters to stand down earlier, causing Mark to purportedly yell back “fuck you,” and an officer eventually forced the Middletons to disperse using chemical spray.
Mark did not approve of this tactic: “We’ve been the ones supporting the police, backing the police, but this is how we’re being treated?,” he wrote the next day, part of a string of now-deleted Facebook comments in which Mark said he was “in the thick of it” and Jalise seemed to acknowledge “we fought the cops.”
The FBI identified the Middletons through public tipsters, and because they posted public videos and photos of the riot on Facebook, according to an FBI statement of facts.
Attempts to reach the Middletons for comment were unsuccessful.
“We fought the cops to get in the Capital and got pepper sprayed and beat,” Jalise Middleton wrote on Facebook, according to the FBI, “but by gosh the patriots got in!”
Federal officials have arrested more than 400 alleged participants in the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, an effort the DOJ has described as one of the largest investigations in U.S. history. Many people have been charged with relatively minor crimes like unlawful entry, but dozens of rioters have faced arrest for more serious offenses like robbery, assaulting police and conspiracy. Prosecutors have been especially severe in pursuing police officer assaults, after scores of officers were injured in the riots, one died of natural causes a day later, and two died by suicide afterwards.
What To Watch For
More arrests. Officials expect to charge at least 100 more people in connection with the riots.