An Auburn man who took part in the violent riot in the U.S. Capitol last week said he was not a member of Antifa, contradicting claims by some conservative leaders in the state.
“They wanna call me Antifa because I have a videogame tattoo on my hand and I was pleading for peaceful discourse,” Will Watson said in a Snapchat post saved by local prosecutors. “Let 'em say what they will. The fake news won’t win against the thousands of patriots who recorded today.”
This stands in contrast to claims made by Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, who has blamed Antifa for the riots at the Capitol building several times since the attack occurred.
“Evidence, much public, surfacing that many Capitol assaulters were fascist ANTIFA, not [Donald] Trump supporters,” Brooks said in a Jan. 7 tweet. “Again, time will reveal truth. Don’t rush to judgment. Don’t be fooled by #FakeNewsMedia whose political judgment drives their reporting.”
Watson can be seen in photos inside the Capitol building the day of the riots next to known QAnon conspiracy theorist and Trump supporter Jake Angeli, who wore a fur hat with horns while shirtless, and a man waving a Trump flag and wearing a Trump hat.
Law enforcement were able to identify and apprehend Watson in part by comparing images of his participation at the Capitol riots with those from his personal social media accounts, according to court documents, though many of Watson’s accounts have since been deactivated including his Twitter, Instagram and Twitch.
Federal agents arrested Watson in Auburn Monday, and he also had his $103,000 bond, which stemmed from LSD and marijuana trafficking charges from July last year, revoked by a Lee County court for violating his bond agreement by travelling out of state to participate in the riots.
Watson was previously arrested and charged July 2, 2020, for trafficking marijuana, trafficking LSD and two counts of possession of a controlled substance, and police said he was in possession of over 2.2 pounds of marijuana and over 4 grams of LSD, according to court documents.
Though it is currently unknown what new charges Watson faces, acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin said federal agents have already identified 170 individuals believed to have committed crimes at the Capitol, with 70 of those individuals having been charged with crimes ranging from misdemeanors to felonies.
“The scope and scale of this investigation and these cases are really unprecedented, not only in FBI history but in DOJ history in which, essentially, the Capitol grounds outside and inside are a crime scene,” Sherwin said in a press conference Tuesday. “We have literally thousands of potential witnesses and a scenario in which we are going to have, I believe, hundreds of criminal cases.”
Meanwhile, Brooks is facing calls to be censured by other U.S. representatives for his own part in the violence at the Capitol after Brooks said to a crowd in Washington, D.C., “today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass,” hours before a riot began that left five people dead and more injured.