The FBI arrested a Texas man this week who was recorded ripping the gas mask off a Washington, D.C., police officer, taking his baton and beating him with it during an especially violent push by insurrectionists to breach the western side of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Steve Cappuccio, identified by online sleuths as #StripesGuy due to the pattern of his clothing recorded during the riot, was recently included in a superseding indictment that has eight other defendants facing criminal action for participating in the assault on police in the Capitol tunnel.
A judge signed an arrest warrant for Cappuccio and several other rioters on Aug. 4. The FBI arrested Cappuccio on Tuesday, and he had his initial court appearance Wednesday. Cappuccio was listed as “123-AFO” on the FBI’s Capitol wanted list, which means he was suspected in the assault of a federal officer, identified by initials in the document.
Cappuccio, “using a deadly or dangerous weapon, that is, a baton, did forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, and interfere with an officer and employee of the United States … and any person assisting such an officer and employee, that is, D.H., an officer from the Metropolitan Police Department, while such officer or employee was engaged in or on account of the performance of official duties and where the acts in violation of this section involve physical contact with the victim and the intent to commit another felony,” the indictment said.
In a particularly brutal battle during the insurrection, members of the mob stormed past outer police barriers and climbed the scaffolding near where President Joe Biden was set to give his inauguration speech just two weeks later.
The warrant’s mentioning of “D.H.” is a reference to Daniel Hodges, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington. At the doorway leading from the Capitol building to the inauguration terrace, Hodges and other officers were holding the line to prevent rioters from breaking through.
Video shared by the FBI shows Cappuccio grabbing Hodges’s gas mask and attempting to rip it off while the officer was in the doorway. Hodges and the FBI said Cappuccio also beat the officer with his own baton, leaving the officer bleeding from his mouth.
The mob, which included Cappuccio, eventually heaved itself in a coordinated fashion that crushed Hodges as he was pinned in the doorway, with video showing the officer screaming in pain. Hodges was hardly the only casualty from the attack, though ― members of the mob seized MPD Officer Michael Fanone, who was repeatedly electroshocked. Rioter Rosanne Boyland died after being trampled during the attack.
Police managed to successfully block the doorway, though rioters broke a window next to it and climbed through.
“If it wasn’t my job, I would have done that for free,” Hodges told NBC Washington about protecting the Capitol from the mob. “It was absolutely my pleasure to crush a white nationalist insurrection. I’m glad I was in a position to be able to help. We’ll do it as many times as it takes.”
Hodges was also one of four officers who testified in July at the first hearing of the congressional investigation into the Capitol riot. In his testimony, the officer repeatedly used the word “terrorists” while recounting the violent day.
“I can see why someone would take issue with the title of terrorist. It’s gained a lot of notoriety in our vocabulary in the past few decades,” Hodges said when Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) asked about his use of the term. “But I came prepared.”
Hodges then began to cite the federal definition of terrorism. He later said in the hearing that it was up to Congress to look into crimes committed at higher levels in government, and he asked lawmakers to explore “if anyone in power had a role in this.”
The FBI this week also arrested Dave Mehaffie, who was added as one of the defendants in Cappuccio’s superseding indictment. Mehaffie was known to online “Sedition Hunters” as #TunnelCommander because he was filmed issuing orders to rioters who were attacking officers at that same lower western entrance where Hodges was stationed.
Federal law enforcement also added to the indictment Frederico “Freddie” Klein, a State Department appointee in the Trump administration who had been previously charged. These three men join six others on the superseding indictment, including the original defendant Patrick Edward McCaughey III, who was filmed pressing a riot shield against Hodges.