U.S. Capitol Police on Monday arrested a Californian who had several knives in his swastika painted truck outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington.
A special ops division officer was patrolling the area near the DNC around midnight when he noticed a Dodge Dakota pickup truck with swastikas and other white supremacist symbols painted on it, police said. The truck had a photo of an American flag in place of a license plate.
When the officer stopped the truck, police noticed a bayonet and machete inside the vehicle, weapons illegal in Washington. Police arrested driver Donald Craighead, 44, of Oceanside, Calif., On suspicion of possession of prohibited weapons.
Police said Craighead told officers he was “on patrol” and started talking about white supremacist ideology and other rhetoric associated with white supremacy. It is not known whether Craighead belongs to an extremist group, although Capitol Police investigators continue to investigate the suspect’s actions.
The arrest comes just days before a planned far-right rally near the United States Capitol in which extremists and supporters of former President Donald Trump are expected to denounce the rioters who were indicted during the murderous insurrection of January 6. The rally, “Justice for J6”, is scheduled for Saturday on the West Lawn of the Capitol, where rioters have moved on to the building after Trump told them at a rally on January 6 to go there and “Fight like hell”.
“We are here to protect everyone’s right to the First Amendment to protest peacefully,” Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said in a statement. “I urge anyone who thinks of causing trouble to stay home. We will apply the law and will not tolerate violence.
Capitol Police officials said they had held planning meetings for the protest over the past month and continued to share important information with officers, law enforcement partners and Congress. The Capitol Police Council on Monday approved a plan to temporarily install a fence around the Capitol, just two months after the inner perimeter fence was finally removed after the January 6 riot.
The council also issued an emergency declaration last week that will go into effect around the time of the protest. The statement allows the department to replace outside law enforcement officers – such as the Washington Metropolitan Police Department as special officers of the United States Capitol Police.
“We want to reassure everyone that these are temporary measures to keep everyone safe,” Manger said. “We are extremely grateful for the support we continue to receive from the local community and our Congress stakeholders as we carry out our critical mission.”
The Capitol Police Department said it was not clear whether Craighead was planning to attend the rally or if he had any connections to previous cases in the area. His arrest comes as the FBI continues its hunt for the suspect who planted homemade bombs outside the DNC and his Republican counterpart the night before the January 6 insurgency.
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