Social Media Posts Lead to Arrest of N.Y. Man for Role in Capitol Riot

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A 25-year-old New York man from the Hudson Valley was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents at his home on Saturday after he posted photos and videos on social media placing him outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 during the rampage by violent extremists.

In the caption of one video, the man, Edward Jacob Lang, wrote: “I was the leader of Liberty today. Arrest me. You are on the wrong side of history.”

Federal prosecutors charged him with assaulting an officer and three other crimes, including civil disorder.

His arrest comes as federal officials ramp up their search for those involved in the riot, which left five people dead. Over 70 arrests have been made across the country in relation to the riots, and at least 170 cases have been opened.

Many of those who participated in the rampage have easily been identified through their social media posts.

In New York, several people — including an employee of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as well as a son of a judge in Brooklyn — have been arrested after being seen inside or around the Capitol during the riot.

“Decisions have consequences,’’ William Sweeney Jr., the assistant director in charge of the bureau’s New York field office, said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Edward Lang is in custody for the ones he made during the assault on our Capitol.”

It was unclear on Sunday whether Mr. Lang, who lives in Newburgh, N.Y., a small city roughly 70 miles north of New York City, had retained a lawyer. He is expected to appear virtually in federal court on Tuesday, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan.

Mr. Lang’s immediate family — including his father, Ned Lang, a former council member in Tusten, N.Y. — could not be reached on Sunday.

Most of Mr. Lang’s social media accounts had been disabled by Sunday morning. But federal officials received multiple tips that Mr. Lang was at the riots, including a photo from his Instagram account in which he could be seen on the steps of the Capitol, according to court documents. The image was captioned “1776 has commenced.”

In social media posts from other rioters, Mr. Lang could be seen swinging a baseball bat at police officers and thrusting a riot shield in their direction, as members of the mob attacked the police near an entrance to the Capitol, according to the court filings.

In one video posted to Twitter by an unaffiliated account, Mr. Lang described what he thought would follow the attack on the Capitol.

“The First Amendment didn’t work, we pull out the second,” he said. “No one wants to take this and die for our rights, but dying for our rights is the only option that any person with a logical brain sees right now. This is it.”

In a series of social media posts, Mr. Lang also described violent encounters with officers, called the riot the “Second American Revolution” and falsely claimed that President Trump had won the national election in a landslide.

A New York Times investigation identified a separate video of Mr. Lang, in which he described witnessing a woman who appeared to have been trampled and killed in a crush of fellow rioters. On social media, he blamed the police for the stampede.

Mr. Lang’s arrest came one day after federal prosecutors announced several charges against a former Marine, Dominic Pezzola, from Rochester, N.Y., who is seen on video footage using a police shield to smash a window and breach the Capitol. Officials on Saturday also arrested another man, Brandon Fellows, from upstate New York, for his role in the riots. No further details were immediately available.

In social media videos, Mr. Fellows can be seen propping his feet up on a table in the office of Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon. In an interview with Bloomberg he said his profile on a dating app had been “blowing up” after his posts to social media. He added that he had “no regrets.”

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