The Justice Department has charged a Pennsylvania man who allegedly attacked an Associated Press photographer and used a stun gun while assaulting police officers during the Capitol insurrection on January 6.
Alan Byerly, who is one of many Capitol riot defendants arrested recently in connection with attacks on journalists or media equipment, is accused of several federal crimes, including assault on a federal officer, obstructing law enforcement and the assault against the photographer. He hasn’t yet entered a plea.
The gang assault against the AP photographer was captured on video. It shows the photographer, John Minchillo, surrounded by pro-Trump rioters who repeatedly shove him and throw him over a ledge. Prosecutors allege that Byerly used both hands to grab at the photographer’s face, neck and chest. A Good Samaritan in the crowd later tries to escort the photographer to safety.
Minchillo is part of a group of AP photographers who won a Pulitzer Prize in June for breaking-news photography.
Prosecutors also allege that Byerly took a stun gun to the Capitol and tried to use it against police officers while charging at them on the west side of the building. It doesn’t appear that any of the officers were hit with the stun gun, and police were able to recover the device.
Byerly is the latest riot suspect to be charged by officials in recent weeks for allegedly harming members of the media or their equipment. Last week, the Justice Department rounded up several new defendants accused of destroying thousands of dollars’ worth of professional broadcast equipment outside the Capitol, in a scene captured on multiple videos showing supporters of former President Donald Trump gleefully taking out their anger at the mainstream media.
Among the pile of equipment were some items marked as belonging to The Associated Press. Prosecutors say one media outlet lost more than $30,000 worth of equipment.
Last month, federal authorities charged an Illinois man with assaulting a cameraman during the riot, saying he was the first insurrection defendant to be arrested for allegedly harming a member of the media. Court filings said he allegedly “ran into and tackled” the cameraman outside the Capitol.
And last week, federal prosecutors charged a Pennsylvania woman who they say stormed the Capitol and filmed a harrowing mob attack on a New York Times photojournalist.
The woman, Sandy Weyer, allegedly ran to the top of a staircase inside the Capitol to videotape the assault. She isn’t accused of attacking the photographer. The victim, photographer Erin Schaff, was beaten and robbed of her camera after a group of men accosted her, demanded to know who she worked for and ripped away her credentials.
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