A Michigan militia member stole a baton from a police officer guarding the U.S. Capitol and used it to assault other cops on Jan. 6, 2021, federal prosecutors claim.
Arrested on Tuesday, Matthew Thomas Krol describes himself as an executive officer of the Genesee County Volunteer Militia, a group that rallied outside of Flint City Hall in 2016, denouncing the government’s role in the water crisis and declaring support for the community.
The 63-year-old Linden resident found himself back in Flint again on Wednesday for dramatically different reasons. Krol is set to be arraigned at the Flint federal courthouse of the Eastern District of Michigan on charges of allegedly assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon or inflicting bodily injury, civil disorder, engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds, and related offenses.
On Jan. 24, 2016, Krol braved the cold of a Michigan winter with a few dozen members of his self-styled militia to pass out bottled water.
“I can speak for every patriot that’s standing here today that we’re here in defense and support of this community to say enough is enough,” Krol was quoted at the time by the local news outlet MLive, which identified him as the militia’s Second Commander. “We’re not going to allow the government, be it the small, local government or the big government to step on the people of Flint any longer. Someone needs to be held accountable.”
According to prosecutors, Krol demonstrated a far different use for a water bottle five years later that same month outside the U.S. Capitol: throwing one at police.
“Video footage of the events at the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 shows that at approximately 2:28 p.m. near the Capitol Steps on east side of the building, Matt Krol pushed forward through the crowd, threw a water bottle at police officers, pulled other civilians out of his way, and attacked Metro Police Department Officer D.P., grabbing him and his police baton,” an FBI agent wrote in a 20-page affidavit.
The affidavit is filled with screenshots from the footage showing Krol apparently pulling the baton out of an officer’s hand and putting it into use.
“The video footage shows that Krol spun Officer D.P. around multiple times, pulling them into the crowd and eventually wresting the baton from Officer D.P.’s hand,” the affidavit states, referring to the officer in a gender-neutral pronoun to avoid disclosing information about the cop’s identity. “Krol then turns to the crowd, holding up the baton as if in celebration.”
Citing other footage uploaded on YouTube and analyzed by internet sleuths, prosecutors say that Krol then used the baton on other officers. One of those videos, titled “Protesters Break Police Line In Front of US Capitol,” allegedly shows Krol forcing his way through the police line, grabbing Officer D.P., and spinning him around while stealing Officer D.P.’s baton.
Authorities say another video shows Krol forcing his way through the crowd, and the online collective going by the name Sedition Hunters tipped off the FBI about a clip titled “Washington DC Capitol breach.”
The Department of Justice estimates that more than 750 people have been arrested to date in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the Jan. 6 attack of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 235 charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. Prosecutors say others attacked police with a PVC pole, a flagpole, a Taser, a fire extinguisher, metal barricades and other weapons.
Read the FBI’s affidavit, below:
(Photos via DOJ)
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