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How It Started, How It’s Going: ‘QAnon Shaman’ Stares into the Camera in First Public Photo Behind Bars


Jacob Chansley, the QAnon Shaman, is seen at the U.S. Capitol in a Jan. 6, 2021 Getty Images photo. He is also seen in a Feb. 4, 2021 mugshot released by the Alexandria, Va. Detention Center.

We’re getting a fresh look at Jacob Chansley, the so-called “QAnon Shaman,” behind jailhouse walls.

Officials in Alexandria, Virginia, released Chansley’s mugshot on Thursday evening.

Chansley, who has been referred to by his own attorney as “the guy with the horns and the fur, the meditation and organic food,” bears little immediate resemblance to his infamously recognizable self.  The mugshot shows a balding Chansley wearing a simple green collared shirt and, obviously, without the headdress, makeup, or tattoos.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: A protester screams "Freedom" inside the Senate chamber after the U.S. Capitol was breached by a mob during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. Pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. Capitol building during demonstrations in the nation's capital. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Jacob Anthony Chansley, the so-called ‘QAnon Shaman.’ Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

As Law&Crime previously reported, Chansley was transferred Thursday afternoon to the Alexandria Detention Center because that facility said it could accommodate his requests for an organic diet. A federal judge on Wednesday ordered that Chansley must be fed organic meals pursuant to Chansley’s religious beliefs in Shamanism. The Washington, D.C. Department of Corrections said it was “unable to comply” with that order, and Chansley was promptly moved to nearby Virginia.

Chansley and his attorney said he hadn’t eaten in as many as seven days because the D.C. facility didn’t provide the requested accommodations.

Mugshots of federal inmates are frequently hard to obtain. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals held in 2016 that arrestees can assert privacy interests in booking photos and, thus, that authorities need not necessarily release images of inmates to the press. The majority of judges in that case ruled that mugshots “convey guilt” and “haunt the depicted individual for decades.”

However, as is now the case with Chansley, federal inmates are sometimes housed by by state or local law enforcement agencies. When that occurs, a federal inmate’s mugshot may be released pursuant to underlying state law. Florida authorities released a mugshot of accused Capitol rioter Adam Johnson pursuant to the Sunshine State’s liberal open records laws. Mugshots in other states, such as New York, are currently difficult to obtain due to a recent change in underlying state law which severely restricts access to the otherwise frequently shared images.

Many of the images of U.S. Capitol arrestees which appear to be mugshots are actually driver’s license photos that federal authorities have embedded within agents’ affidavits. Numerous federal court records indicate that the FBI has located many people at the Capitol by comparing driver’s license photos to images taken at the U.S. Capitol Complex on Jan. 6.

Chansley’s identity was made known to federal authorities by media reports, not by a search of driver’s license photos.

The Alexandria Detention Center, where Chansley is currently held, similarly released a mugshot of Paul Manfort several years ago. Manafort’s attorneys balked when he was moved to the D.C.-area facility. However, Judge T. S. Ellis, who oversaw Manafort’s move to Alexandria, told Manafort’s attorneys that “the professionals at Alexandria Detention Center are very familiar with housing high-profile defendants, including foreign and domestic terrorists, spies and traitors.”

The snarky rebuke came after the judge said the former Donald Trump campaign chairman should be held pending trial at a location closer to his legal team.

Mugshot released by the Alexandria, Va. Detention Center.

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.