A Marine Corps veteran who allegedly stormed the U.S. Capitol with a crowbar and pepper spray on Jan. 6, 2021, has agreed to plead guilty to two felony counts of obstruction of an official proceeding, and assaulting, resisting or impeding police, Washington D.C.’s WUSA9 reported.
According to a federal agent’s affidavit, Ryan Taylor Nichols, of Longview, Texas, wielded a crowbar and large canister of pepper spray while surging into the Capitol on Jan. 6 alongside fellow Texan Alex Kirk Harkrider. Images and videos of the two men attempting to enter the Capitol building along with the mob were included in Justice Department documents.
In one video, Nichols uses a bullhorn to direct the crowd, yelling, “If you have a weapon, you need to get your weapon!”
In another video recorded from his hotel room in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol riot, Nichols, speaking in the third person, advocates using violence, according to the WUSA9 report.
“Ryan Nichols is done allowing his country to be stolen,” he says in the video. “And I understand that the first Revolutionary War, folks, it was violent. We had to be violent and take our country back. Well guess what? The second Revolutionary War, right now, the American Revolutionary War that’s going on right now, it started today on a Wednesday. It’s going to be violent.
“So, if you want to know where Ryan Nichols stands, Ryan Nichols stands for violence,” he continues. “So, yes, today, Ryan Nichols … Ryan Nichols grabbed his f—ing weapon and he stormed the Capitol and fought for freedom.”
Social media accounts belonging to Nichols and Harkrider were reported to the FBI by two separate witnesses within weeks of Jan. 6, according to the affidavit. Court documents noted that both Nichols and Harkrider documented their experiences that day on Facebook.
Nichols was arrested on Jan. 18 and was subsequently held in Smith County Jail in Tyler, Texas, before being moved to house arrest. He and Harkrider were originally charged with an array of criminal counts, including conspiracy and unlawful entry with a dangerous weapon, violent entry or disorderly conduct, civil disorder, assaulting a federal officer using a deadly or dangerous weapon, and aiding and abetting.
Those counts were narrowed to the aforementioned two following the prosecution’s superseding criminal court filing on Thursday.
Nichols was originally expected to begin a jury trial in November. Sentencing in Nichols’ case has yet to be determined.
Allison Erickson is a journalist and U.S. Army Veteran. She covered military and veterans' affairs as the 2022 Military Veterans in Journalism fellow with The Texas Tribune and continues to cover the military community. She has written and reported on topics such as migration, politics, and health.