An Oregon man was arrested in South Florida this month on criminal charges tied to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S Capitol, according to court records. That same man is accused of attacking a journalist at a Dec. 21 rally in which a small crowd attempted to break into the Oregon Capitol in Salem.
A grand jury indicted Richard Lee Harris, 40, and federal law enforcement officers took Harris into custody March 18. He is being held at the Broward County Jail without bail in the custody of the U.S. Marshals, jail records show.
On Friday, a federal judge ordered Harris detained until trial because he is considered a potential flight risk and danger to the community, court records show. His case is being transferred to Washington, D.C., though those court records remained sealed as of Monday.
Federal prosecutors have charged Harris with five counts related to the insurrection, including assaulting, resisting or impeding officers; obstruction of an official proceeding; and entering and remaining in a restricted building.
Harris is the third person with ties to Oregon charged in the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Last week, the FBI announced it had arrested brothers Jonathanpeter and Matthew Klein; they face charges including conspiracy to prevent Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election results for Joe Biden.
Harris’ father, who OPB agreed not to name out of privacy concerns, said his son heard about the Jan. 6 rally on Fox News. He also said his son believes the election was rigged, though there is no evidence of fraud that influenced the election outcome.
“I don’t think he went there in the attempt to enter the Capitol,” Harris’ father told OPB. “I think Richard really took it for word what Trump was saying: ‘Come to the rally, come join us at the rally.’ So he went to the rally. And somehow he got hooked up with getting inside the Capitol.”
According to his father, Harris is not affiliated with far-right groups such as the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers. Prosecutors have said in court documents those groups helped coordinate the attack on the Capitol ahead of the Jan. 6 rally.
OPB first noted Harris’ connection to the riots four days after the insurrection. He was one of the three people OPB identified as appearing to participate in both the pro-Trump mob in Washington, D.C., and efforts by far-right protesters to break into the Oregon statehouse on Dec. 21. At the time, OPB did not know Harris’ name and relied on images and video comparisons of Harris’ facial hair, clothing and a distinctive tattoo of DC Comics character Harley Quinn on his forearm.
In court documents, federal prosecutors provide several images taken from videos and social media they say depict Harris at the insurrection. One video shows a man who appears to be Harris talking on a landline inside the U.S. Capitol. He makes threatening remarks into the phone about both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then-Vice President Mike Pence.
A man who appears to be Harris is also captured in another video published by the New Yorker. In that video, he can be heard shouting at several U.S. Capitol police officers inside the building.
“If you do not stand down, you’re outnumbered,” the man in the video said. “There’s a fucking million of us out there, and we are listening to Trump, your boss.”
A photographer with Getty Images also took a widely-circulated picture of a man who appears to be Harris standing on a pedestal with his arm around a statue of former President Gerald Ford; the statue is wearing a MAGA hat and holding a Trump flag.
Harris’ arrest on federal charges could also lead to charges in Oregon.
At the Dec. 21 event in Salem, a journalist from the Statesman Journal newspaper was assaulted as he filmed people breaking windows and trying to pry open a door to the Oregon Capitol. Video shows a man who appears to be Harris pushing that journalist, Brian Hayes. So far, Oregon State police have arrested at least six people in connection with the incidents on Dec. 21. Harris has not been charged.
Anti-lockdown Protestors assault a journalist for photographing faces pic.twitter.com/G7kchBBrXx— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) December 21, 2020
Hayes is pressing charges against the people who assaulted him. In late December, he testified before a grand jury in Marion County.
“When I saw the photos of him at the U.S. Capitol, it didn’t surprise me at all,” Hayes said. “Oregon police weren’t able to ID him.”
The FBI declined to comment on Harris’ arrest or on any connection between the Jan. 6 insurrection and the Dec. 21 violence in Salem.
Capt. Tim Fox with the Oregon State Police said Saturday that his agency was not aware of Harris’ arrest.
“Last I am aware we were attempting to identify this person,” Fox said via email. “If he is identified, the investigation would be forwarded to the Marion County DA’s office for review of possible charges.”
Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson said her office doesn’t have an open case on Harris, but noted that investigators are still working to identify the man who attacked the journalist. Any identification would come from Oregon State Police, she said.
“Should the Oregon State Police be able to identify and investigate any further individuals involved in any criminal activity related to these incidents, we will certainly review for any appropriate criminal charges,” Clarkson said.