The FBI is asking people to help identify and arrest those who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.
President supporters Donald Trump met in Washington on Wednesday to express their frustration at the triumph of Joe Biden in the November elections for an alleged electoral fraud of which there is no evidence.
After a speech by the president, who once again insisted on his theory of fraud, the protesters went to Congress and invaded it, vandalizing offices and stealing material.
Five people died inside and outside Congress, including a police officer attacked by the mob.
The assailants could be charged with various crimes such as trespassing and carrying weapons and explosive devices. They could be sentenced to many years in prison.
Dozens of people have already been arrested, including the man who sat at the desk in Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
But most of those guilty of the assault remain at large.
Therefore, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI for its acronym in English) is asking: do you know someone who appears in these photographs?
Agents are going to great lengths to identify, locate and arrest those who invaded Congress in one of the most dramatic scenes in modern American history.
And the FBI wants everyone in Washington and across the country to join the team’s effort to solve the crime.
What is the situation so far?
- Five people killed, including a police officer
- At least 82 arrests
- Investigators in Washington say they have received more than 17,000 notices from the public about the assailants.
- The FBI is offering a $ 50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a person who left explosive devices at Republican and Democratic party headquarters.
The FBI has established a phone number and a website so that people know how to contact them with relevant information.
This tactic is old and effective, say FBI veterans.
The FBI’s “Most Wanted Fugitives” posters used to line post office walls, he recalls. Steven Pomerantz, a retired FBI agent who was director of the counterterrorism department.
“These kinds of programs to engage the public work well,” he says.
In the mid-1990s, one of these FBI programs led to the arrest of Theodore Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber, who mailed explosives and thus killed three people.
The FBI decided to publish a manifesto that he had written and his brother saw it in the newspaper. He recognized his ideas and gave him away.
Since then, these kinds of tactics have become more sophisticated.
The activist Shaun King, known for his aggressive use of online tools to hunt down criminals, has already gone after people who invaded the Capitol and posted pictures of them inside.
Among them, Richard Barnett, 60, of Gravette, Arkansas, who was identified in the media and later arrested.
Another man wearing a fur hat and horns and whose image was released on Wednesday was identified as Jake Angeli. He is a proponent of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
However, it takes time to filter all the information received and sometimes does more harm than good.
Following the bombs that exploded in Boston in 2013, so-called “online detectives” circulated a photo of two people with backpacks chatting near the Boston Marathon, the site of the explosions.
People considered them suspicious even though they had nothing to do with the attacks.
To add confusion to the attack on the Capitol, there is also misinformation about who instigated the violence. Some Trump supporters say they were members of Antifa O Black Lives Matter, but there is no evidence of it.
Many Americans are eager to see the assailants brought to justice.
Stephen Saltzburg, a George Washington University law professor, has worked in the criminal division of the Justice Department, and says citizens are highly motivated to help the FBI.
“People care about democracy. They want those people punished. They want justice done.”
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.