Aug 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Oklahoma man charged in assault on AP photographer in Capitol riot

 People stand around media equipment destroyed by Trump supporters outside the US Capitol in Washington DC on January 6

People near media equipment destroyed by supporters of former President Trump outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Camille Camdessus/AFP via Getty Images

An Oklahoma man arrested on federal assault charges in the Capitol riot stands accused of assaulting an AP photographer during the Jan. 6 insurrection, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Driving the news: Prosecutors allege that videos show two unknown attackers dragging the photographer down some stairs before Benjamen Scott Burlew, 41, joined others in grabbing, pushing and shoving him, the DOJ said. Burlew is also accused of throwing him down stairs.

Details: Video shows a man identified as Burlew walking away after that assault. But separate footage shows the same suspect "forcefully throw and push the photographer over the wall to the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building, several feet below," according to the DOJ.

  • "Burlew continued to shove and push the photographer until the photographer was thrown backward over the wall, where he landed on his back on the grounds of the west lawn," the statement added.
  • "As alleged, Burlew can be seen in the video leaning over the wall to observe his fall."

For the record: Burlew, who faces charges including assault in special territorial jurisdiction and acts of physical violence on restricted grounds, was indicted on Aug. 20 in the District of Columbia and released from jail on $5,000 bond.

The big picture: More than 570 suspects have been arrested in nearly all 50 U.S. states for crimes related to the Capitol breach — including over 170 charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, per the DOJ's statement.

  • Among them is a Pennsylvania man arrested last month on charges for the assault of the same AP photographer and also on police officers.
  • Eight people have now been arrested for allegedly destroying media equipment, assaulting journalists or inciting violence against members of the press.
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