Federal prosecutors have requested an emergency stay to prevent the release of Capitol defendant Jack Wade Whitton, who was arrested last week after he was identified as the Trump fan captured on film dragging a D.C. police officer by the neck down the steps of the Capitol and into a violent mob.
Whitton, who the feds say is the man who wore a “TRUMP 2020” hat as he brutally assaulted officers at the Capitol, was indicted by a federal grand jury on a host of federal charges. The Georgia CrossFit enthusiast was one of the first suspects who became the target of online “Sedition Hunters” who have sought to identify the violent insurrectionists who tried to stop the certification of the election on Jan. 6. They nicknamed the suspect “Scallops” because an overhead photo of him dragging a police officer down a set of Capitol steps by the neck showed him wearing what one online investigator called a “distinctive scalloped grey backpack.”
Magistrate Judge Regina Cannon of the Northern District of Georgia ordered Whitton released pending trial following an initial hearing last week. But federal prosecutors filed a motion for an emergency stay, and have asked a judge in D.C. to order Whitton held until trial.
In a court filing, prosecutors pointed to the role that “unknown Twitter users” had played in identifying Whitton and tracking his movements and actions on Jan. 6 under the #scallops hashtag. “In the photographs tagged, Whitton is seen in various stages of dress during the assault,” they write.
Prosecutors said the FBI received a tip identifying “Scallops” as Jack Wade Whitton from a confidential source on Jan. 17, and at some later an FBI task force officer interviewed the tipster, who said they knew Whitton from high school and had attended the same CrossFit gym as Whitton and his girlfriend. The confidential source provided the FBI with a copy of a text message that Whitton allegedly sent to a mutual acquaintance.
“This is from a bad cop,” the message said, showing an image of a bloody hand. “Yea I fed him to the people. Idk his status. And don’t care tbh.”
It’s not clear from the court filing when exactly law enforcement first spoke to the confidential informant who sent in a tip about Whitton on Jan. 17, but it would be more than a month before the FBI interviewed the owner of the CrossFit gym they attended, who identified Wade to the FBI on Feb. 25. As HuffPost has previously reported, the overwhelmed FBI has been struggling to keep up with the influx of tips it has received about the Capitol attack, and key information has been overlooked during the course of the investigation.
Now that he’s been arrested, the feds told a D.C. court that he poses a danger to the community and that there were no conditions of release that would reasonably assure the safety of the community.
“The defendant assaulted an officer with a weapon — a crutch — and while doing so, kicked another officer who had been forced to the ground by a separate rioter. The defendant then dragged the officer he assaulted with a crutch into the mob, pulling him by the head, in a prone position, down a flight of steps. The evidence shows that the defendant is a danger to the community,” prosecutors wrote.
Read the filing below.