A K-State doctoral student held a door open and resisted when law enforcment officers tried to prevent him from letting in rioters during the U.S. Capitol breach on Jan. 6, an FBI agent says.
A federal judge recently unsealed a federal criminal complaint detailing action by William Pope of Topeka.
William Pope, who appeared in court via Zoom on Monday, is charged in federal court in Washington, D.C., with obstructing or impeding any official proceeding; civil disorder; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; impeding passage through the Capitol grounds or buildings; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
His brother, Michael Pope of Sandpoint, Idaho, also faces similar charges.
A pro-Trump mob, alleging election fraud, breached the U.S Capitol building in January. They did so to prevent Congress from convening to count Electoral College votes that would confirm President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ win in the November election.
The FBI agent wrote in the complaint that two witnesses identified Pope in a video he had posted on his own Facebook page, as well as in pictures inside the Capitol from news reports.
A Capitol police officer told the FBI on Jan. 22 that he remembered Pope’s “passive resistance” by blocking officers from closing the door to prevent others from entering.
“The USCP Officer stated that he gave William Pope repeated verbal orders to leave the building and attempted to physically grab and push William Pope from the building, but that William Pope resisted by tensing up and refusing to move,” the complaint said.
The FBI agent wrote in the complaint that in surveillance video footage from inside the building, Pope appeared to strike one of the Speaker of the House office doors with a flag pole he carried and attempted to force the door open by lunging into it with his shoulder. Additional footage shows Pope seemingly walking around other areas of the building.
The agent acknowledged Pope did self report his whereabouts to the FBI, which he also told reporters after the incident.
“I would like to turn myself in,” Pope wrote on Jan. 12 through the FBI’s online tip system. “I was in the Capitol on Jan. 6. I did not damage any property or engage in any violence. I am loyal to the United States and was only there to exercise my freedom of speech. I left the building voluntarily.”
In a Jan. 21 interview with the FBI, Pope admitted to entering the U.S. Capitol building with his brother, saying he did so to “express their concern about the direction of the nation.” The complaint said Pope described “questionable things” that occurred during the election that warranted an election audit.
Pope also said the brothers had initially intended to take a road trip along the east coast after the protest, but after seeing the gravity of the Jan. 6 situation, they changed their plans to return home.
Five people died during the insurrection, including a Capitol Police officer, while legislators had to evacuate the Senate Chambers.
Pope is a K-State doctoral student and graduate teaching assistant.