A South Carolina man boasted in a text group conversation that he disguised himself as an anti-fascist or anti-fa activist during the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill and successfully attacked agents and to steal police equipment, authorities said.
The man, William Robert Norwood III, relayed his plan in a text to four other people on Jan.5, according to screenshots of the cat included in a criminal complaint and an arrest warrant filed Thursday.
“I dress all in black,” Norwood wrote, according to the complaint. “I’ll look like ANTIFA. I’ll get away with anything.”
A day after the riots, Norwood sent an update: “It worked … I got away with things that others have been shot or arrested for.”
“The cop shot a female Trump supporter. Then he allowed ‘ANTIFA Trump supporters’ to assault her. I was one of them. I was there. I took her. s — “, Norwood continued.
Attached to the text was a selfie of Norwood “wearing what appears to be a US Capitol Police tactical vest under a zipped camouflage jacket,” the FBI wrote in the complaint.
From the screenshots, Norwood wrote to the group, “I bought a nice helmet and body armor from a cop for god’s sake and disarmed him. Tell me how it works.” “
He claimed that once he changed his antifa outfit he was targeted by police.
“I fought 4 cops, they didn’t do anything. When I put on my red hat, they pepperballed me, ”Norwood wrote.
Immediately after the January 6 violence, baseless conspiracy theories circulated on social media and conservative media that the antifa was somehow behind the riots.
There is no evidence that anti-fascist activists were involved in the riots, which resulted in the deaths of five people, FBI officials have repeatedly said.
Someone identified as TD, who the FBI says is Norwood’s brother, berated him.
“You admitted to being something that you accuse others of being. And then you got angry and blamed other people for the same thing you did. What’s wrong with you. ? ” TD texted, according to the documents.
Norwood reportedly replied, “The only cop who deserved it, got it. The cops who acted – got exactly what they deserved. The cool ones got help.”
TD family member identified by the FBI as JD warned agents, saying TD told him Norwood had done “terrible things” inside the Capitol, including assaults on agents of the police ”, according to the criminal complaint. TD then shared the messages with federal agents, he said.
When officers questioned Norwood, he said he and his wife traveled to Washington, DC, to attend the Trump rally. He admitted to entering the Capitol and its rotunda after being separated from his wife, according to the FBI.
He claimed that “two US Capitol police officers were waving to people inside, and one of the Capitol police officers told him, ‘I’m on your side,'” the FBI said.
He said he wanted to leave but couldn’t because of the large crowd. He said he protects officers from assault and claims someone else took a police vest from a pile of equipment and put it on him, the FBI said. He admitted to taking a helmet from the stack and putting it on his head.
“Norwood also denied assaulting law enforcement officers, and claimed that all statements he made in text messages were meant to make Norwood harsh,” the criminal complaint states. “Norwood has said on several occasions that he only tried to help law enforcement, not to harm them.”
Norwood provided the FBI with a photo of himself wearing a camouflage jacket standing near the Washington Monument on January 6. A man who wore the same clothes and who appears to be Norwood was caught on surveillance video in the rotunda, the FBI said.
Norwood faces charges of violent entry and disorderly conduct on the Capitol grounds, obstructing justice and Congress, theft of government property and other counts. Efforts to reach him by phone failed on Tuesday.