- A leader in the QAnon conspiracy-theory movement was one of the rioters storming the US Capitol during Wednesday’s attempted coup in Washington, DC.
- The “Q Shaman” took photos on the Senate dais and marched through the Capitol with a megaphone.
- He was arrested three days later and charged with federal crimes.
- QAnon’s presence at the riot comes after the conspiracy-theory community has been feeding voter-fraud claims to President Donald Trump for months.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
As supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol Building in a riot on Wednesday, one figure stood out among the mob: the “Q Shaman,” aka Jake Angeli.
Angeli, known for wearing red, white, and blue face paint and a horned helmet, has become a notable figure in the QAnon conspiracy-theory movement, popping up at far-right rallies in Arizona in the past year, The Arizona Republic reported.
On Wednesday, Angeli took photos on the Senate dais and marched through the Capitol with a megaphone.
The Department of Justice announced on Saturday that Angeli, whose real name is Jacob Anthony Chansley, was arrested.
The Arizona man is charged out of the United State’s Attorney’s Office of DC with with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington field office and the United States Capitol Police.
Angeli’s presence at the riot, along with others wearing QAnon paraphernalia, comes as the conspiracy-theory movement has been responsible for the popularization of Trump’s voter-fraud conspiracy theories.
Angeli told Globe and Mail correspondent Adrian Morrow that police “politely asked him to leave” after they reportedly let him into the building.
—Adrian Morrow (@AdrianMorrow) January 6, 2021
QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory baselessly alleging that Trump is fighting a “deep-state cabal” of pedophiles and human traffickers. The movement behind it has played a massive role in organizing nationwide “Stop the Steal” protests in the two months since President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 election.
The “Q Shaman” is one of many figures in the world of QAnon whose actions inspire and influence the movement. QAnon originated with an anonymous figure called “Q” who writes cryptic messages on the fringe message board 8kun (previously known as 8chan). As Q has become increasingly hands-off, giving fewer and fewer messages to his devotees, QAnon leaders like Angeli have gained fame and power in the movement.
—Steven Nelson (@stevennelson10) January 6, 2021
Later on Wednesday afternoon, Angeli grabbed a microphone outside the Capitol and told people to go home, according to a tweet from Kevin Roose, a technology columnist at The New York Times.
As Trump seeks to undermine the election results, he has been getting much of his information on baseless voter-fraud allegations directly from the QAnon movement. The Dominion voter-fraud conspiracy theory, which baselessly alleges that Dominion Voting Systems interfered with the election, was popularized by Ron Watkins, a previous administrator of 8kun. Watkins’ father, Jim Watkins, has been suspected by some of being “Q,” or at least being associated with the figure (or group).
Wednesday’s riot included Trump supporters espousing QAnon, as well as members of other far-right groups like the Proud Boys. Many popular QAnon accounts were celebrating the Capitol siege on Wednesday, saying it was the first step in some kind of civil war.
Others at the riots were seen wearing QAnon paraphernalia. In one video shared on Twitter, a man in a QAnon shirt appears to be one of the first in a massive group of rioters entering the Capitol.
—Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 6, 2021
Madison Hall contributed reporting.