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‘Lean in’: MAGA-hat wearing rioter smacked police with poles, urged others to pile on, feds say in new Jan. 6 case

Odin Meacham

Utah resident Odin Meacham, seen on the left wielding a wooden pole and the inset with a MAGA hat, has been charged with assaulting law enforcement on Jan. 6. (Photos via DOJ)

The latest among the more than 320 people charged with assaulting law enforcement on Jan. 6, 2021, a MAGA hat-wearing Utah man stands accused of smacking police defending the U.S. Capitol with wooden and metal poles.

Odin Meacham, a 29-year-old from Myton, was arrested on felony charges unsealed on Tuesday. His prosecution shows that authorities still haven’t let up on identifying and charging more than 320 rioters authorities believe attacked police on that day. Other accused rioters have been charged with assaulting police with pepper spray, fire extinguishers, poles, a Taser, and other objects and weapons. Some 2 1/2 years in, many have been convicted.

As their hunt continues, the FBI has sought the public’s help by disseminating suspects’ images on “Be on the Lookout” (BOLO) postings, a tactic that they say contributed to Meacham’s capture.

Authorities believed Meacham’s driver’s license and passport photographs resembled those BOLO images, and they say a witness who knew Meacham “for many years” described being “positive” it was him.

The FBI said that police body camera footage helped pin down Meacham’s alleged crimes further.

“By approximately 2:09 p.m. on the west side of the Capitol building, significant sections of the police line, largely maintained with metal bike racks, were breaking as the rioters in the crowd swarmed and overwhelmed the officers,” the bureau’s affidavit states. “At 2:09 p.m., Meacham emerged from the crowd and attempted to pull a bike rack away from the officers.”

Odin Meacham bike rack

The FBI says this bodycam images shows Odin Meacham attempting to pull the bike rack that protected officers. (Photo via DJ)

Meacham can be seen holding onto that bike rack in a body camera image embedded inside his charging documents.

“Several seconds later, Meacham rushed towards several officers and struck at least one USCP Officer (‘Victim Officer 1’) on the upper body with a large wooden pole,” the affidavit states.

Minutes later, authorities say, Meacham traded his wooden pole for a metal one.

“At approximately 2:14 p.m. on the west side of the Capitol building, Meacham picked up what appears to be and sounded like a black metallic pole from the ground,” the affidavit states. “Approximately thirty seconds later, Meacham threw the black pole at an MPD officer (‘Victim Officer 2’), hitting Victim Officer 2 on his left hand.”

Meacham metal pole

Meacham (R-in red rectangle) is seen winding up to allegedly toss a metal pole at a police office (L-in blue rectangle). (Bodycam photo via DOJ)

Two minutes later, authorities say, Meacham then tried to galvanize and radicalize the mob to follow in his path.

“At approximately 2:16 p.m., Meacham emerged from the crowd and approached an MPD officer (‘Victim Officer 3’),” “Meacham then shouted, ‘lean in!’ multiple times while simultaneously signaling towards the crowd with his right hand in an apparent effort to galvanize the crowd to approach and overwhelm the officers. Meacham then grabbed and attempted to take possession of Victim Officer 3’s baton[…] Meacham was ultimately unsuccessful in his attempt.”

Meacham has been charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers; civil disorder; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon; and engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds. He faces a maximum of more than 35 years imprisonment if convicted, but those found guilty of similar crimes, in practices, have gotten far less.

Read the FBI’s affidavit supporting charges against Meacham here.

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."