Federal authorities have arrested the alleged Jan. 6 rioter known as “Sedition Panda,” a Florida man who memorably wore the head of a bear costume to the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Jesse James Rumson, 37, of Lecanto, allegedly spent around two hours on Capitol grounds that day, among scores of Donald Trump supporters angry over Congress’ certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral win. He was allegedly seen approaching the Capitol, entering the building, and, apparently being escorted from the building, assaulting a police officer.
According to the probable cause affidavit in support of his arrest, Rumson was “given the hashtag name of “#SeditionPanda” because, at times, the individual was seen in both open-source and other footage wearing a large headpiece that appeared to be from a panda costume[.].” He was arrested Monday.
He was also “initially carrying brown, wood rosary beads and a silver flagpole with a white flag with black writing, and was wearing an army green backpack, camouflage pants, a black T-shirt with white writing, and a gray zip-up hoodie with dark sleeves that included a red and gray striped band around the elbow area,” the affidavit said.
According to investigators, he entered the Capitol building at 2:40 p.m., less than 30 minutes after the initial breach of the building.
“[O]nce other rioters had successfully broken open the Capitol’s Parliamentary Door on the Upper West Terrace, RUMSON can be seen running from the Senate Wing Door, hopping over railings, and climbing the stairs to enter the Capitol through the Parliamentary Door,” the affidavit says. “He was among the first approximately twenty rioters to enter that door after it was breached.”
While inside the building, the affidavit says, Rumson “appears to lose or leave behind the panda headpiece.”
Around 10 minutes after entering the building, according to the affidavit, security footage shows Rumson leaving the building “without the headpiece and with his hands behind his back.”
Pictures from a different Jan. 6 investigation show that “other rioters helped remove handcuffs” from Rumson’s wrists, according to the affidavit.
Rumson is later seen on a video near the Senate Wing Door “right around the time when that door was breached for a second time,” the affidavit says.
“GET A RAM!” Rumson is allegedly yelling in the video.
At around 4:20, federal investigators say, Rumson is seen in pictures and video approaching a line of police pushing rioters to leave Capitol grounds entirely.
Rumson then “assaulted at least one law enforcement officer, S.A., by, after running through the crowd towards the officer, reaching out, and grabbing the officer’s face shield, which forced the officer’s head and neck back and upwards,” according to the affidavit.
He was seen on video “likely exiting the area as the sun was setting,” the affidavit says.
Rumson has been charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers, which carries a potential eight-year prison sentence, and obstructing law enforcement during a civil disorder, a five-year felony. He has also been charged with six misdemeanors for disorderly conduct and trespassing.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]