Authorities: Man in 'Camp Auschwitz' shirt at riot arrested
NORFOLK, VA. (AP) - A man who was photographed wearing a "Camp Auschwitz" sweatshirt during the US Capitol riot last week was arrested in Virginia on Wednesday.
Robert Keith Packer, 56, was arrested in Newport News, where he lives. He has been accused of violent entry into the Capitol, behaving in a messy manner, and knowingly breaking into or staying in a restricted building or property without legal authority.
A police officer said Packer is the man featured in a photo in the Capitol, wearing a sweatshirt with the name of the Nazi concentration camp, where about 1.1 million people were killed in World War II. The sweatshirt also contained the phrase "Arbeit brings freedom", a translation of "Arbeit macht frei", the German phrase that appeared at the entrance to the camp. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity as the person was not authorized to publish details of the case.
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The photo of the man in the sweatshirt caused a stir on social media.
During a virtual hearing held in a federal court in Norfolk on Wednesday, a federal prosecutor said the government would not request detention for packers.
A federal judge said Packer would be released immediately on a personal guarantee of recognition. One of the terms of his release is that Packer will not be allowed to travel to Washington unless it is a court visit. His case and others are being prosecuted in federal court in the District of Columbia.
Packer said he intended to hire his own attorney as opposed to a court appointed attorney. But he did not identify who would represent him in the case.
A crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol last week after a president rally. Trump insists he won the November presidential election against now-elected President Joe Biden.
A Capitol police officer died as a result of the riot, and police shot and killed a woman during the siege. Three other people died in medical emergencies. Legislators had to fight for safety and go into hiding when the rioters took control of the Capitol. This delayed the counting of the electoral college votes by hours. This was the final step in ending Biden's victory.
FBI spokeswoman Christina Pullen said a second Virginia man, Douglas Allen Sweet of Grimstead, was also arrested Wednesday for alleged involvement in the riot.
Court records for Sweet show he faces similar charges as Packer, including forced entry and disorderly behavior on the grounds of the Capitol.
Sweet was charged along with five other people who police said were on the upper level of the United States Capitol Visitors Center near the door to the House atrium.
The criminal complaint against Sweet and five others described a scene in which a crowd of several dozen people "made loud noises, kicked chairs, threw an unknown liquid substance at officers, and sprayed an unknown substance at officers".
The Capitol Police ordered the crowd to leave, and the crowd responded by yelling at and berating the officers, the complaint said. Police said Sweet and the five others are "positioned in front of the crowd, near the Capitol police officers who have responded."
"The six people, like others in the larger crowd, deliberately refused the order to leave," the complaint read.
Lavoie reported from Richmond, Virginia. Washington Associate Press Writer Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.
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