One of the numerous U.S. Capitol rioters apparently inspired by the QAnon conspiracy theory, Mathew “Mateo Q” Capsel has been ordered released while awaiting trial for allegedly assaulting National Guardsmen, an act that prosecutors say he recorded and publicized on TikTok.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly said that she had serious concerns about Capsel’s danger to the community and risk of flight, but she believed that those could be addressed via GPS monitoring, travel restrictions, supervision and mental health treatment.
Prosecutors allege that the Capitol insurrection was not Capsel’s first brush with the law for an alleged act of violence.
“There’s violence in this defendant’s history, as a juvenile and as an adult,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Bloodworth said.
Bloodworth said that Capsel had been accused of domestic battery and left the state of Illinois, where he missed a court appearance for that incident.
“He was half a country away,” Bloodworth said.
In arguing for Capsel’s release, his public defender Angela Hill noted that other alleged insurrectionists accused of more serious offenses were set free. Hill noted in particular that this list included so-called “zip tie guy” Eric Munchel, whom prosecutors believe may have wanted to take hostages, and Riley June Williams, who allegedly swiped a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and, according to one FBI tipster, wanted to sell it to Russian intelligence.
The defense counsel did not mention that another judge blocked Munchel’s release on appeal.
Authorities claim that Capsel shared evidence of assaulting National Guardsmen on social media on Jan. 6.
“In this video, Capsel, identifiable by the tattoos on his face and neck, and wearing the same hat, shirt, and necklace, is fighting against National Guardsmen until he is pepper sprayed, as shown in the last screenshot,” an FBI affidavit states. “Specifically, the video depicts Capsel charging against a lined group of National Guardsmen, running into their protective shields.”
Multiple witness shared snippets from Capsel’s social media feed with the FBI.
“Witness 1 reported that they were a former neighbor of Capsel and that Capsel was ‘known to be violent,’” the affidavit continues. “On or about January 13, 2020, the FBI received a tip from Witness 2 who submitted screenshots of Facebook posts by ‘Mateo Q Capsel’ stating that they are friends on social media with Capsel and that Capsel ‘was at Capitol building when the protesters and rioters got on the building before entering’ and had video of this on his Facebook page.”
Citing Capsel’s “distinctive tattoos on his face and neck,” the FBI found that the @mateoqcapsel on TikTok who attacked National Guardsmen was the same man.
A Twitter profile of an Illinois man with the name “Mathew Capsel” clearly indicates that “Mateo Q” is a reference to QAnon, references to which are sprinkled throughout his social media feed. One is the slogan “Wwg1wga,” short for “where we go one, we go all.”
— Mathew capsel (@CAPSELDonCapCeL) May 2, 2020
The Department of Justice describes QAnon as a key driver of violence during the Capitol siege, owing to the “discredited” conspiracy theory positing that a sinister cabal of child-eating Democratic Satanists operate a pedophile ring and were opposed by former President Donald Trump. The failure of the many apocalyptic predictions of Q, the group’s shadowy leader, has not stopped numerous adherents from believing that a future “Storm” will lead to the mass arrest and execution of their imagined enemies.
(Images via FBI, Twitter screengrab)
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