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Revealed: More insurgents have a history of violence against women


At least three men who participated in the January 6 insurgency on the United States Capitol have a history of arrests for domestic violence or sexual abuse, increasing the number of insurgents with worrying records of arrests or charges of violence against women and children. In February, a HuffPost investigation found nine other January 6 participants who had similar backgrounds, ranging from domestic violence charges to prison terms for sexual assault.

One of the newly listed men, who was accused of assaulting a police officer on January 6, was responsible for “many hospital visits for many victims”, accusation note uncovered by HuffPost says . Another man charged in connection with the Capitol Riot has been repeatedly arrested for domestic violence, but has never been prosecuted, and is awaiting trial for child abuse, HuffPost has found.

And a third, who allegedly shouted at Capitol Hill police that they “protect pedophiles,” was convicted of rape in 2010, CNN reported last week.

The link between extremism and violent misogyny has become very evident in recent years, as more and more mass shooters have a history of violent behavior towards women. Although most violent men do not commit larger acts of violence, the links between violence against women and extremism are too clear to be ignored, experts said.

“Today we still treat violence against women as a personal or family issue, as opposed to a troubling indicator of someone who might become more violent,” said Bridget Todd, director of communications for the feminist organization UltraViolet, at HuffPost. February.

The details in the three newly discovered cases are shocking. Ryan Samsel, 38, is accused of assaulting a United States Capitol Police officer and causing him a concussion while storming the barricades. According to prosecutors, Samsel “has a long criminal history of aggressive and violent behavior” towards women and has been convicted of assaulting women at least three times.

“The facts underlying these other convictions are extremely troubling,” prosecutors wrote of Samsel in the man’s detention note from Pennsylvania. “They show a pattern of Samsel suffocating and beating women to the point of unconsciousness, many hospital visits for many victims, chipped and missing teeth, and Samsel even breaking into her home several times. a victim to assault him. “

Samsel’s criminal history includes an assault in 2006 in which he attempted to get a woman he knew off the road with his car, hit her on the windshield, and told her he would kill her on the road. ‘He was not getting back the $ 60 she owed him, prosecutors said. In 2009, Samsel was convicted of common assault and reckless endangerment after “holding a victim against her will for five hours, suffocating her to the point of unconsciousness, pushing her, hitting her and breaking her legs. teeth, ”says the detention memo.

Samsel was again convicted of common assault, among other charges, in 2011 for choking and beating his pregnant girlfriend. In 2015, he was convicted of common assault for the third time, involving another female victim who told police Samsel strangled her to the point of unconsciousness.

Another woman came forward in 2019 and alleged that Samsel broke into her home, assaulted and strangled her until she repeatedly lost consciousness. “The victim also alleged that Samsel raped her on several occasions and that she was often afraid that he would kill her,” the detention memo reads. The woman told police she obtained a restraining order against Samsel, but he raped it on several occasions.

When Samsel traveled to Washington to participate in the January 6 riot, there was an open arrest warrant for his assault charge, and he was also on parole for a separate incident. Samsel’s lawyers did not respond to multiple requests for comment.


Samuel Corum via Getty Images

Donald Trump supporters storm the United States Capitol following a rally on January 6 in which the then president called for action against the 2020 election results.

Jorge Riley, a 43-year-old man who identifies as a Native American who stormed the Capitol with feathers and black face paint, has “a history of domestic violence arrests against previous relationships,” said prosecutors said in prosecution documents. None of Riley’s domestic violence arrests resulted in prosecution.

“I can’t really express your fear of him,” Megan Teefy, Riley’s ex-wife, told HuffPost. Teefy told HuffPost that Riley had been physically and emotionally abusive towards her during their four-year relationship.

Riley is awaiting trial in California on child abuse charges in which he is “alleged to have suffocated and beaten his child in public, causing a number of visible marks and resulting in a brief loss of consciousness in his son,” according to them. prosecutors. Riley was at large awaiting trial on these child abuse charges when he traveled to Washington for the January 6 action.

Riley faces federal charges relating to the storming of the Capitol, including obstructing official process and disorderly and disruptive conduct on narrow grounds. Riley’s lawyers did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

In the third case, Sean McHugh, 34, of Auburn, Calif., Who faces eight counts for his involvement in the Capitol uprising, including assaulting police officers and obstructing congressional proceedings. , was also convicted in 2010 of rape and sentenced to 240 days in prison and four years of probation, CNN reported last week.

According to the prosecution documents, McHugh allegedly shouted at the police on Capitol Hill as he attempted to storm the building, “Do you like protecting pedophiles? “You are protecting the Communists! “I would shake in your shitty little boots too”; “There is a Second Amendment behind us, what are you going to do then? “; “You don’t hold the line!”

CNN reported that the prosecutor in McHugh’s statutory rape case said the victim was 14 and McHugh was 23 when the offense was committed.

McHugh declined to comment on HuffPost through his attorney.

The same far-right extremists who militarize conspiracy theories and hate to radicalize their followers online indulge in misogyny in their distress to silence and flee the women they perceive as a threat to their power.
Representative Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Co-Chair of the Biparty Working Group to End Sexual Violence

Equally disturbing are the details in many cases found by HuffPost in its initial investigation. Capitol rioter Edward Hemenway was released from prison in 2013 after serving five years on charges of rape, sexual violence and forcible confinement. According to court records, Hemenway lured his ex-wife to a hotel in 2004 where he handcuffed her, taped her mouth and raped her. Another insurgent, Guy Reffitt of Wylie, Texas, choked his wife in 2018 until she nearly passed out, according to a police report. When asked by the cop how long he had strangled his wife, Reffitt replied that “he had a hard time remembering but he said not long because he loves her,” according to the report. Reffitt’s wife Nicole Reffitt confirmed to HuffPost in February that the physical altercation did take place, although she cannot recall specific details.

Violence against women, such as domestic violence or sexual assault, often leads to more violence.

“The link between far-right extremists and misogyny is extremely predictable,” Representative Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) Told HuffPost in February. She is co-chair of the Biparty Working Group to End Sexual Violence. “The same far-right extremists who militarize conspiracy theories and hate to radicalize their followers online engage in misogyny in their plight to silence and flee women they perceive to be a threat to their power.”

The HuffPost also discovered that at least one other pro-Trump rallyman who was near the Capitol grounds during the riot has been arrested on cases of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Benjamin Martin, from Fresno, Calif., Was in attendance at the pro-Trump rally on January 6. Although he is not facing any federal charges, Martin told GV Wire, a northern California news site, that he was inside the Capitol, but only because he was forced by a mob as he tried to defuse the situation between rioters and Capitol police. Martin told GV Wire he was about 15 feet into the building before exiting, adding that antifa was to blame for the insurgency and vandalism on Capitol Hill. (There has been no evidence that anti-fascist activists, known as anti-fascists, were involved in the January 6 riot.)

Martin was accused of domestic violence by his former girlfriend in 2017, KFSN-TV reported in Fresno. The ex-girlfriend told police Martin strangled her after he found her looking into her phone and accused her of contacting escorts, according to a police report. That same year, an arrest warrant was issued against Martin after he allegedly threatened his ex-wife and damaged his car. Charges of the incident with his ex-wife were dropped when he struck a plea deal for the domestic violence incident with his ex-girlfriend.

Last year, Martin’s sister sought an injunction after saying he had repeatedly threatened her. “Benjamin was harassed and threatened to ‘take me out’,” the sister said in a police report. “I’m not sure what he means by that and he’s very angry with [losing] his real estate license. He wants to go after someone. I think he’s angry enough to do something for me and my family. The case was then dismissed.

Martin faces no federal charges for his involvement in the rally. He did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Ryan Reilly contributed reporting.

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