Christopher Worrell‘s live-in girlfriend told acquaintances that Worrell was in the Proud Boys and that she traveled with him to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, one acquaintance told the FBI. Worrell is now facing a litany of federal charges for allegedly carrying a “dangerous weapon” on restricted grounds just outside the U.S. Capitol.
According to charging documents on file in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Worrell became “extremely agitated and upset” when the FBI showed up at his house on Jan. 18 to ask him questions about the U.S. Capitol breach. Though Worrell “eventually admitted that he was at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021,” he “denied entering” the building and “denied any other wrongdoing or criminal conduct.”
He “also became agitated when asked about the Proud Boys,” the documents state. He said “the Proud Boys were not a racist white supremacist group like the media tries to portray.”
An FBI agent who reviewed numerous press and social media photos taken Jan. 6 identified Worrell wearing a tactical vest, a body camera, a hydration pack, a push-to-talk radio communication earpiece, and a can of gel pepper spray. Subsequent images show Worrell deploying what is assumed to be the can of pepper spray at a “line of law enforcement officers present.”
Though the numerous images embedded within federal court records do not depict Worrell inside the capitol, they do show him on what appear to be the capitol steps behind a line of police officers who were attempting to keep the crowd at bay. That is enough, authorities said, to charge him with being “within a restricted building or grounds” under federal law.
The FBI also located relevant video posted to YouTube by a Turkish broadcaster. The recording shows Worrell talking with Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, other Proud Boys members, and an interviewer at a Naples, Florida shopping mall. The video, which is still available online as of the time of this writing, is embedded below and cued to the relevant conversation:
After complaining about the mainstream media and Joe Biden for calling out the group, one member said, “we’re not the one out there causing riots, we’re not burning — if we get attacked, we might defend ourselves, but we’re not out there looking to fight.”
The group denied being racists when asked by the interviewer.
“We care about what your heart is,” Worrell said.
“As long as you’re a man, you can join our club,” another member said. “Gay, straight, whatever you choose to be.”
“That’s right,” Worrell nodded in affirmation.
“We will defend this country against all enemies foreign and domestic,” Worrell said. “But we love everybody. I got Muslim friends. I fought in a Muslim war, but I got Muslim friends. Whatever.”
“Everybody’s equal,” he later said.
According to an arrest warrant, Worrell was taken into custody in Naples, Florida, on Friday. Subsequent court records say a federal magistrate judge in Florida ordered Worrell released from custody “pursuant to certain conditions.”
Federal prosecutors immediately sought a review of that decision.
“The defendant is subject to detention pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(1)(E), which provides for detention in felony cases involving a dangerous weapon,” the DOJ wrote in yet another subsequent document which sought to move Worrell to Washington, D.C., and to keep him locked up pending trial.
U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell in Washington, D.C., issued an order Friday granting the government’s request for an emergency stay but otherwise said Worrell did not need to be brought immediately back to the nation’s capitol.
Future proceedings are scheduled March 16. Until then, Worrell remains locked up.
Read the flurry of relevant federal court documents below. We’ve combined them into one file:
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