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‘America First B****’: FBI Arrests Man Who Allegedly Admitted to ‘Fighting Riot Police’ in the Capitol Building


Leonard Ridge selfie from inside the Capitol building

After posting a series of videos to social media appearing to show himself and others being tear gassed storming the Capitol building, an accused rioter boasted about “fighting riot police,” federal investigators wrote in a criminal complaint unsealed Friday.

According to the charging documents, Leonard Pearso Ridge IV posted at least five videos from the siege at the U.S. Capitol that enabled the FBI to identify him, adding to the growing list of rioters whose social media bluster about participating in the insurrection have filled the pages of court documents.

“Let’s go, let’s go. Get in this Bitch,” Ridge allegedly yelled in one of the first Jan. 6 videos he uploaded to Snapchat. The FBI says the videos placed him among the pro-Donald Trump mob making its way up the Capitol steps.

Subsequent videos depicted Ridge inside the Capitol building, authorities say.

According to an FBI affidavit, one video captioned “currently making history” featured Ridge exclaiming “they’re gassing it, they’re gassing it,” in reference to Capitol Police deploying a chemical agent to stymie the mob; he ends the video by yelling, “America First Bitch!”

Based on the video, the FBI obtained a search warrant to examine the contents of Ridge’s Snapchat account, which they claim provided the videos, chat logs discussing the assault on the Capitol, and time-stamped geolocation data showing that Ridge’s device was at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The chat logs appear to show that Ridge was a dogmatic believer of the false election fraud conspiracy theories espoused by Trump and his acolytes. On Dec. 29, just over a week before the Capitol siege,  Ridge told another Snapchat user that “the election was completely stolen” and said “something big will happen in this nation very soon,” authorities say.

According to the complaint, Ridge later added that “shit is gonna get really bad.”

On the night of the siege, the same Snapchat user contacted Ridge again calling him a “legend” for storming the Capitol, the FBI says.

“I just made history,” Ridge allegedly responded. “Yeah just stormed the US capital [sic] for the first time in US history and I was a part of it.”

When the user said he hoped the day “goes down in history and isn’t erased,” Ridge allegedly claimed there was video of him physically assaulting law enforcement officers.

“Yeah man so epic I have a video of me fighting riot police in the capital [sic] building,” Ridge allegedly wrote, adding, “Just pray for me that I don’t get arrested by the FBI.” He was arrested in Pennsylvania on Friday.

After mentioning the possibility that the FBI could be looking for him, Ridge claimed that he “just walked into the capital [sic] to record and did not break anything or steal anything,” but seemingly contradicted that notion soon thereafter, writing, “We bro [sic] down McConnell’s door and nancy pelosios [sic] door and rad the offices,” according to the complaint.

In a Jan. 10 message to the same user, Ridge allegedly added, “I hate to say it but like the time for us to fight is here.”

Ridge is facing three federal criminal charges, including obstructing an official proceeding, entering a restricted building, and disorderly conduct.

Read the charging documents below:

[image via charging documents]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.