Ex-NYPD Officer Sara Carpenter Charged in Capitol Riots
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Woman Seen Shaking a Tambourine Inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 Identified as Former NYPD Officer. She’s Been Arrested and Charged.

Sara Carpenter plays the tambourine while inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

A former member of the New York Police Department (NYPD) has been arrested and charged for her role in the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Sara Carpenter, 51, who retired from the police force in 2004, surrendered to federal authorities Tuesday morning and faces misdemeanor charges of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Carpenter sat for a voluntary interview with the FBI where she confirmed that she drove from her home in Queens to attend the Jan. 6 rally for former President Donald Trump, then followed others who marched to and eventually overtook the Capitol building.

“Carpenter stated that at the rally point, she heard President Trump’s words on the jumbo televisions and speakers instructing people to rally back, not leave, and march to the Capitol,” the complaint stated. “Carpenter stated that she entered the Rotunda of the Capitol, where she observed other individuals walking around and leaving with items. Carpenter told FBI agents that she observed police yelling for individuals to get out, then pushing and shoving the crowd. Carpenter stated she was trampled and pepper sprayed as she exited the Capitol building.”

Clips of Carpenter participating in the insurrection went viral after footage appeared to show her celebrating inside the Capitol while spinning around and playing a tambourine.

“The CCTV video of the Capitol Rotunda next shows the woman cross the room to an exit,” the complaint stated. “Before exiting, however, the woman turns back to the room and raises here hands in the air. In her left hand, she holds a tambourine, which she shakes several times before turning back around and exiting the Rotunda.”

While executing a search warrant on her home earlier this month, the FBI found what appeared to be the same apparel Carpenter wore when she was inside the Capitol, including the jacket, boots, and backpack. Carpenter also “voluntarily provided” authorities with the tambourine she carried with her while inside.

The FBI caught wind of Carpenter’s participation in the insurrection on Jan. 7 when an anonymous tip was submitted to the FBI stating that Carpenter had told a family member that she was teargassed while inside the Capitol.

She is scheduled to make her initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon in Brooklyn Federal Court, though her case will ultimately be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C.

Read the full complaint below.

Carpenter Statement of Facts by Law&Crime on Scribd

[image via criminal complaint]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.