When Nicholas DeCarlo joined the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol early last month, he didn’t waste the chance for a good photo op. The photo did go viral, but it's also one of the reasons he is now facing federal charges.
The crowd gathered on Jan. 6 supposedly to stop the certification of the November 2020 presidential election results. Many supporters of former President Donald Trump say, with no evidence, the vote was rigged in favor of Democrat Joe Biden. Some showed up heavily armed. Pipe bombs were reportedly placed nearby, and one man paraded a Confederate flag through the Capitol halls.
While Trump supporters swarmed the Capitol, DeCarlo and his pal, Nicholas R. Ochs, posed with their thumbs up. They were standing in front of a door on which they had allegedly scrawled in sharpie: “MURDER THE MEDIA.”
Murder the Media, it turns out, is the name of the far-right online news outfit that had dispatched DeCarlo and Ochs to Washington that day. When the men spoke to the Los Angeles Times — DeCarlo gave the name “Dick NeCarlo” — they insisted that they were merely on the scene to do their journalistic duties.
But they blew their own cover in a livestreamed video. “Congress stopped the vote when we stormed the Capitol. As we’ve been saying all day: We came here to stop the steal,” Ochs said.
“We did it,” DeCarlo chimed in. “That’s what I came down here to do. That’s what we did.”
Authorities arrested the pair late last month, but a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia indicted both of them on Wednesday, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to the DOJ, DeCarlo and Ochs “planned and raised money for their effort, and then traveled to Washington, D.C., where they joined a crowd that stormed past barricades and law enforcement officers to halt a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress on January 6.”
DeCarlo, who's from Burleson, is the latest North Texas resident charged in connection with the riots at the U.S. Capitol, during which pro-Trump protestors swarmed the building and tried to prevent a Congressional vote to certify the presidential election results.
Both DeCarlo and Ochs have been hit with seven counts, including conspiracy, destruction of government property, theft of government property, and obstruction of an official proceeding, among others.
If convicted, DeCarlo and Ochs could each wind up in prison for up to two decades and face fines of $250,000.
According to media reports, at least 10 North Texans are among those charged in connection with the incident. Meanwhile, a University of Houston study published Thursday found nearly one-third of Texas Republicans support the Jan. 6 event.
The FBI has already received “over 200,000 tips related to the case from across the country,” said Melinda Urbina, a spokesperson for the bureau’s field office in Dallas. She said authorities have already arrested most of the roughly 200 people facing charges but noted that the crowd was at least four times larger than that number.
“The big thing is that we want people to still give us tips,” Urbina told the Observer. “We definitely need more people to keep looking at those wanted posters. If they know something, they should definitely contact the FBI.”
“The absence of accountability for far-right groups led them to think that they could get away with even more brazen acts,” said Shane Burley, an expert of far-right extremism and author of Fascism Today.
“The broadcasting of them breaking laws in the Capitol was the biggest sign that they thought there was a certain kind of impunity,” he told the Observer. “Because there had been impunity for a long time.”
This week, the news broke that McKinney realtor Jason Hyland was arrested and charged with knowingly entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct on the U.S. Capitol grounds.
According to the FBI, Hyland had joined fellow Realtor Jenna Ryan and Katherine Schwab on a private flight from Denton to D.C. Ryan and Schwab are also facing charges.
Unsurprisingly, many were arrested after they apparently told on themselves.
Garland resident Daniel Phipps was arrested in Corpus Christi not long after he spilled the beans on social media. “I went to DC,” he wrote, according to the criminal complaint. “I helped take the Hill. I helped other patriots prevent antifa from damaging anything.”
Troy Smocks, a 58-year-old from Dallas, reportedly took it a step further. He was arrested after he hopped on Facebook and threatened to return to the Capitol “carrying our weapons in support of our Nation’s resolve,” according to a criminal complaint.
Larry Brock, a Grapevine resident and retired Air Force officer, was photographed holding zip ties, which are used as handcuffs, a fact that prosecutors say demonstrates his intent to take hostages. Brock also couldn’t hold back on social media. “Patriots on the Capitol,” he allegedly wrote. “Patriots storming. Men with guns need to shoot their way in."
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