Peter Stager is an Arkansas man who is accused of beating a Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer with a flagpole during the riots at the U.S. Capitol. A criminal complaint says Stager said he mistakenly thought the officer was a member of antifa.
Stager, 41, was charged in a criminal complaint in federal court. The attack on the officer, which involved multiple people striking him with different objects as he lies on the ground, was captured on a video that went viral online. You can see that video here, but be aware that it depicts violence that some might find disturbing.
Some people believed that the video of the beating showed Officer Brian Sicknick, who died of injuries sustained during the riot. However, it instead shows a different officer being beaten. That officer is identified only as B.M. in court documents.
The FBI received a tip that one of the individuals who assaulted the officer on the stairs of the U.S. Capitol building was Peter Francis Stager, the complaint says. The confidential informant identified Stager from two videos posted on Twitter. One depicted him among a large group on the Capitol stairs, the complaint says.
“Stager climbed the stairs while holding a flagpole with a United States flag affixed to it and used the pole to repeatedly strike B.M. while B.M. remained prone on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building,” says the complaint, which charges Stager with unlawfully committing or attempting to commit an act to “obstruct, impede, or interfere with any fireman or law enforcement officer lawfully engaged in the lawful performance of his official duties incident to and during the commission of a civil disorder.”
Online records say he has ties to Conway, Arkansas, a city not far from Little Rock. Online records link him to an inactive single-family home construction company. Multiple pro-Trump rioters have been named and charged in connection with the riots; Stager’s political registration is listed as “optional.” He did not have any known social media accounts. A search of previous criminal history for Stager only comes up with a minor traffic case in Arkansas court records.
Here’s what you need to know:
Stager Is Accused of Saying ‘Death Is the Only Remedy for What’s in That Building’
— Cleavon MD (@Cleavon_MD) January 11, 2021
In a video posted to social media, Stager said, “Everybody in there is a treasonous traitor. Death is the only remedy for what’s in that building,” the complaint alleges, adding that authorities believe “that building” meant the Capitol, and “everybody in there” referred to politicians inside.
A confidential informant spoke to Stager by phone call, and he admitted being in the video, according to the complaint.
The complaint says that Stager told the informant that he “did not know the man he was striking on the ground with the flagpole was a cop and that he thought the person he was striking was antifa.” However, the complaint says the words “Metropolitan Police” were clearly visible on the officer’s uniform in a photo the authorities believe shows Stager “holding a flagpole, with an American flag attached.”
Thus, authorities believe that Stager knew the man he was striking was a law enforcement officer.
Stager Is Accused of Saying He Was ‘Wired Up’ From Being Pepper Sprayed or Tear Gassed
The complaint says the informant claims Stager told him he had to apologize to the informant and his children for his behavior and said he intended to turn himself in.
Stager claimed he was “wired up” from being “either pepper-sprayed or tear-gassed and that was why he made the comments he did on camera,” says the complaint, which adds it was possible he was “tear-gassed by law enforcement officers while attempting to breach the U.S. Capitol building.”
The Officer Was Guarding a Capitol Archway When He Was Attacked & Beaten, the Complaint Says
According to the criminal complaint in Stager’s case, Officer B.M. of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department “was working his evening shift in his official capacity,” at the time of the attack on the Capitol. “During that shift, B.M. was directed to report to the U.S. Capitol building to assist the U.S. Capitol Police in their duties to maintain security of the U.S. Capitol building,” the complaint says.
Between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., B.M. “walked through an interior tunnel of the U.S. Capitol building and assumed a post in an archway which provided access to the building’s exterior,” the court document continues.
From this archway, as he stood with other uniformed officers, B.M. saw hundreds of people gathering. “Some of these individuals were throwing and swinging various objects at the group of law enforcement officers,” the complaint says.
“While standing in the archway to prevent the group of individuals from breaching the U.S. Capitol building, and while wearing his official MPD uniform, some of these individuals grabbed B.M. and dragged him down the stairs of the Capitol building,” the complaint says. “These individuals forced B.M. into a prone position on the stairs and proceeded to forcibly and repeatedly strike B.M. in the head and body with various objects.”
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