News World US Pro-Trump rioters face criminal charges, potential fly bans

Pro-Trump rioters face criminal charges, potential fly bans

Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Members of the pro-Trump mob that stormed the US’ Capitol last week are facing criminal charges that could prevent them from boarding flights again.

At least 25 domestic terrorism cases have been opened in relation to Wednesday’s attempted coup that resulted in five deaths, including a police officer.

Some of the rioters have been deemed so dangerous they could end up on the US government’s no-fly list as domestic terrorists, preventing them from boarding any aircraft that flies within, to, from, or over the US.

The proposal was raised on Thursday by Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

“Given the heinous domestic terrorist attack on the US Capitol … I am urging the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use their authorities to add the names of all identified individuals involved in the attack to the federal No-Fly List and keep them off planes,” Mr Thompson said in a statement.

“This should include all individuals identified as having entered the Capitol building – an intrusion which threatened the safety of Members of Congress and staff and served as an attack on our nation.”

Jake Angeli, a QAnon supporter, in the Capitol building. Photo: Getty

The no-fly list is a small group of individuals in a US terrorist screening database – commonly known as “the watch list” – who the FBI says “are known to be or reasonably suspected of being involved of terrorist activities”.

The FBI defines domestic terrorism as: “Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature”.

Although there is no federal criminal offence designated as “domestic terrorism” in the US, that is almost certain to change under the Biden administration.

One of the rioters charged is Cleveland Meredith Jr, who allegedly brought an assault weapon to the violent insurrection in Washington DC.

Disturbing text messages from Mr Meredith reveal his desire to kill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to court documents obtained by The Daily Beast.

Nancy Pelosi at the US Capitol last week. Photo: Getty

In one text, Mr Meredith wrote: “Thinking about heading over to Pelosi C*NT’s speech and putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV,” followed by a purple devil emoji.

He was reportedly arrested by DC police at the Holiday Inn in Washington with a camper van full of weapons, including a Glock hand gun, a pistol, a Tavor X95 assault rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Larry Rendell Brock, of Texas, was arrested on Sunday and charged with one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on the grounds of the Capitol.

The government alleged Mr Brock was identified as one of the individuals pictured holding a white zip tie, which is used by law enforcement to restrain subjects.

Eric Gavelek Munchel, of Tennessee, was also charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

Photos show a black-clad person who appears to be Mr Munchel carrying plastic restraints, the government said.

Trump supporter Eric Gavelek Munchel inside the US Capitol. Photo: Getty

But there are fears the crackdown on rioters won’t be enough to stop further violence.

American authorities are investigating possible domestic terrorism before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

Representative Jason Crow, a member of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, said US Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told him the Pentagon was aware of “further possible threats posed by would-be terrorists”.

“Long guns, Molotov cocktails, explosive devices and zip ties were recovered, which suggests a greater disaster was narrowly averted,” said Mr Crow, a former Army Ranger, of his call with Mr McCarthy.

Mr McCarthy assured him the Pentagon was working with local and federal law enforcement to co-ordinate security preparations after what he described as “deficient law enforcement threat reporting” before last Wednesday, he said.

Mr Crow said he raised grave concerns about reports that active-duty and reserve military members were involved in the assault, and urged Mr McCarthy to expedite investigations and courts martial and ensure no troops to be deployed on January 20 were sympathetic to domestic militants.

Mr McCarthy agreed to take “additional measures,” Mr Crow said.

-with AAP