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'They need to hang' | California man who posed in front of gallows charged in Capitol riot

David Nicholas Dempsey, 34, and Jeffrey Scott Brown, 54, are the latest defendants charged in the January 6 Capitol riot.

WASHINGTON — Two California men accused of assaulting police with pepper spray, crutches and metal poles on January 6 were arrested Thursday on multiple charges in connection with the Capitol riot.

The men, David Nicholas Dempsey, 34, of Van Nuys, and Jeffrey Scott Brown, 54, of Santa Ana, were charged in separate cases with committing an act of physical violence on Capitol grounds, entering a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon and obstruction of law enforcement. Dempsey is charged additionally with assaulting officers using a dangerous weapon and obstruction of an official proceeding, and Brown faces an additional charge of inflicting bodily injury on federal officers.

In a video posted to YouTube on January 6, the FBI says Dempsey – wearing a black tactical helmet and an American flag gaiter over his face – can be seen standing with a Trump flag in front of a gallows that was erected on the Capitol grounds.

“Them worthless ****in’ ****holes like Jerry Nadler, ****in’ Pelosi… they don’t need a jail cell,” Dempsey says in the video. “They need to hang from these mother****ers [pointing to gallows]… They need to get the point across that the time for peace is over.”

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The FBI says other open source video shows Dempsey at the front of a crowd attempting to enter the Capitol tunnel near the Lower West Terrace. In the video, Dempsey can be seen using pepper spray, crutches, a metal pole and a baton or club-like object to assault police attempting to hold rioters back. Charging documents also include pictures of Dempsey wearing a yellow-and-black bracelet and posing with other members of the Proud Boys in marked attire.

The FBI gave a lot of credit for Dempsey’s identification to the Sedition Hunters – a group of “open source intelligence investigators” who have banded together online to review the hundreds of hours of public footage available from the riot. The group’s work has been credited in multiple court filings by the Department of Justice, and they recently upended a sentencing hearing for Robert Reeder, of Maryland, when they discovered video just hours beforehand appearing to show him in an altercation with police on January 6.

Brown, who is accused of assaulting police inside the tunnel with pepper spray, was identified in part thanks to cell phone videos obtained from a search warrant on another California defendant, Beverly Hills salon owner Gina Bisignano. The FBI says those videos show him at the front of the mob inside the Capitol tunnel at the same time D.C. Police Officer Daniel Hodges was being crushed in a doorframe.

The Justice Department filed an emergency motion Thursday asking the federal court in D.C. to stay a California magistrate judge’s order releasing Brown on bond. It was not immediately clear Friday whether Dempsey had yet made an initial appearance.

We're tracking all of the arrests, charges and investigations into the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Sign up for our Capitol Breach Newsletter here so that you never miss an update.

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