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Crime & Justice

Man Who Posed For Photos Sitting At A Desk In Pelosi's Office Has Been Arrested

Richard Barnett has been arrested in his home state of Arkansas and faces charges related to his part in the forced entry into the Capitol. During the riot, Barnett sat in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.
Richard Barnett has been arrested in his home state of Arkansas and faces charges related to his part in the forced entry into the Capitol. During the riot, Barnett sat in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.

Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET

The Department of Justice says Richard Barnett, identified as the man who sat at a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during the siege of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump extremists, has been arrested.

Barnett was taken into custody in his home state of Arkansas. His identity and place of residence became a hot topic of discussion online, sparked by the striking photo of him with his feet up on the desk.

Barnett is being held at the Washington County Sheriff's Office in Fayetteville, Ark., according to Charlie Robbins of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Arkansas.

Outrage over the photo and the insurrection in the seat of U.S. democracy triggered a harsh backlash against Barnett's hometown of Gravette, according to Mayor Kurt Maddox, who said on Friday, "Barnett is now in custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a list of pending charges."

Officials have been monitoring the situation closely, the mayor said.

"This picture has gone viral and has brought the city of Gravette into the spotlight, which is unfortunate," Maddox said in a statement posted online. "We have had citizens receive threats, calls to our police, social media posts, and emails wanting to know what Gravette is going to do about this situation."

Despite the massive size of the insurrection at the Capitol, fewer than 100 people were arrested on Wednesday and early Thursday. Those arrested were from across the U.S., including North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Oregon. Washington, D.C., police said officers were "scouring" local hotels to make more arrests before extremists left the area.

Federal agents are working around the clock to hold people accountable, and their work is far from over, said Steven D'Antuono, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington field office.

In a briefing call Friday, D'Antuono said that even though people have left the nation's capital region, they should still expect a knock at their door if they broke the law while taking part in the protest and ensuing riot.

Maddox, the mayor, acknowledged that Barnett lives in Gravette but said that the man is not representative of the town's residents.

"The vast majority of the citizens who live in Gravette AR are salt of the earth people, who would help their neighbors at a moment's notice," the mayor said.

"With all of the challenges 2020 brought to our country, the people of this safe small town have presented themselves with grace and pride."

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