A Wichita man was arrested by federal authorities on charges of assaulting Capitol police officers and other crimes during the January 6 riot in Washington.
Michael Eckerman, 37, faces multiple charges, including assaulting, resisting or interfering with officials, obstruction of official process, and disorderly behavior in the Capitol. The most serious count claims he helped break a police line by pushing an officer down the stairs.
Eckerman was identified as a participant in the January 6 riot by two tipsters who recognized him in photos on social media and other public photo sites, according to an affidavit from Corey Green, a specialty agent for the FBI.
“The person pictured in the photos of Tipster-1 and Tipster-2 is identical in appearance to Eckerman’s driver’s license photo from Kansas,” says the affidavit of the arrest warrant.
The man in the photos was dressed in quasi-military clothing, a black shirt and pants, and a cartridge vest. He wore a red Trump hat.
The affidavit claims Eckerman was present when rioter Ashli Babbit was shot and killed by police while trying to climb through a broken window and gain access to the chambers of the House of Representatives where members of Congress were evacuated.
It also cites an interview by the man believed to be Eckerman, published by the FreedomNews.tv website.
“I don’t know her (Babbits) name, I just know that we were there as patriots,” the affidavit from the video quotes him. “She is dead because we are here. These mother (expletive) are traitors, they are (expletive) traitors! ”
The affidavit goes on to say: “In this video, our companions from the Facebook photo of Tipster-2 are observed as we, in our opinion, pull Eckerman away from the camera.”
A Justice Department statement confirmed that Eckerman was arrested and appeared in federal court in Wichita for the first time on Monday.
The attack on the Capitol came as the two houses of Congress convened in joint session to approve the election of President Joe Biden.
The most serious charge against Eckerman is that he pushed a Capitol cop, breaking a line of police that kept rioters at bay.
“Around 2:27 p.m. Eckerman was watched by surveillance cameras as he made his way forward into the crowd, where uniformed US Capitol officers stopped the rioters’ advance,” the affidavit reads. “Eckerman pushes through the crowd to one of the officers until he is facing the officer.”
The officer identified as KY in the documents testified that Eckerman pushed him down a short flight of stairs and that an unknown rioter injected a fire extinguisher into his face.
“He seems to be pushing the officer several meters backwards. The interaction allows the crowd to move past the police line. Eckerman then goes up a flight of stairs to Statuary Hall on the second floor. “
From there he went to the Rayburn reception room near the Democratic cloakroom next to the House of Representatives Chamber.
“After leaving the Rayburn reception room, the footage shows Eckerman walking down the hall to the east stairs near H208 at around 2:42 pm,” the affidavit reads. “This place is near the back entrance of the house chamber, where Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed by a police officer trying to climb through one of the broken glass doors to get into the house chamber.”
A social media image attached to the affidavit shows the man identified as Eckerman with three others and the caption: “These are the Kansas people who were there when the girl was shot.”
A National Public Radio timeline of events sets the Babbit shooting at 2:44 p.m.
“Shortly after filming, the video shows Eckerman and his companions exiting the Capitol at about 2:44 am through the doors of the House of Lords,” the affidavit reads.
Contribution: Chance Swaim of The Eagle