Jacob Chansley who pleaded guilty to a felony charge of obstructing an official proceeding, was among the first rioters to enter the building. Chansley arrived at the January insurrection carrying a spear, wearing a horned fur hat, bare chest, and with painted face. One could not miss him in the chaos and confusion in the crowd. The image of Chansley holding a flagpole topped with a spear tip and looking as if he were howling was one of the most striking to emerge from the riot.
Though he isn’t accused of violence, prosecutors say Chansley, of Arizona, was the “public face of the Capitol riot” who went into the attack with a weapon, ignored repeated police orders to leave the building and gloated about his actions in the days immediately after the attack.
He admitted to using a bullhorn to get the crowd all riled up while offering up a prayer of thanks, and scratching out a threatening note to then Vice President Mike Pence.
Before he was sentenced, Chansley told U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth it was wrong for him to enter the Capitol and that he accepts responsibility for his actions. He emphasized he wasn’t an insurrectionist and is troubled with the way he was portrayed in news stories in the aftermath of the riot.
“I have no excuse,” Chansley said. “No excuses whatsoever. My behavior is indefensible.”
After spending his first month in jail, Chansley said he reevaluated his life, felt regret for having stormed the building and apologized for causing fear in others.
– Ella Breedlove