As far as we know the vast majority of rioters who stormed the Capitol last week were Trump supporters or otherwise affiliated with so-called right-wing groups. However, as I predicted, at least one instigator there was from the Left. And he was just arrested on federal charges in Utah.
Why is he important?
Well, for one, John Earle Sullivan, the left-wing activist and Black Lives Matter supporter was interviewed by CNN to discuss what he witnessed at the U.S. Capitol and his interview was broadcast globally on “Anderson Cooper 360.” He claimed he was at the Capitol covering the riots, but in fact, was there to provoke violence and then record it.
His own videos of the Capitol riot were used as evidence for his arrest.
While in police custody, Sullivan told KUTV that he was in the Capitol in order to document the protests. But he also admitted that he entered the Capitol through a window.
Most significantly, Sullivan was caught on camera as he was filming Ashli Babbitt, the 35-year-old Air Force veteran when she was shot and died. Sullivan told CNN, “The second that she climbed through the window she got shot right in the neck area, fell backwards…”
After the riot, Sullivan admitted to KUTV that he is the founder of Insurgence USA, created after the killing of George Floyd. In a video obtained from Insurgence USA by KSTU-TV, Sullivan says to the camera that he also supports Black Lives Matter.
Sullivan was arrested and charged with entering a restricted building or grounds, “civil disorders,” and violent entry or disorderly conduct. But incitement to violence may also be in the works.
Sullivan’s arrest affidavit adds:
After the crowd broke through the last barricade, and as SULLIVAN and the others approach the Capitol Building, SULLIVAN can be heard in the video saying at various points: ‘There are so many people. Let’s go. This s— is ours! F— yeah,’ ‘We accomplished this s—. We did this together. F— yeah! We are all a part of this history,’ and ‘Let’s burn this s— down.
Once inside, federal prosecutors allege that he shouted for more violence. While the arrest of one leftist agitator inciting and filming violence at the Capitol cannot condone the actions of the rest of the right-wing pro-Trump crowd, it must be taken seriously and evaluated as part of a very complex and tragic event.
Federal authorities will continue to investigate this riot for weeks and months to come. As I noted the day after the riot, all the facts must be uncovered, and all the violent perpetrators arrested.