FBI Asks For Public To Help Identify Capitol Rioters, Hopes To Avoid Misidentifications
Several pictures from the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol show people posing in private offices and gleefully vandalizing the Capitol building.
More than 60 people have now been federally charged with trespassing, theft and possession of firearms and explosives. The photo of a man sitting at Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-California) desk with his feet up led to his subsequent arrest and charging with theft.
From another viral photo, a Florida man was arrested after being pictured waving to a camera while carrying Speaker Pelosi’s lectern.
The FBI has publicly released an image with 12 people who are wanted in connection to violence at the Capitol and are asking for any information that may lead to their identification.
Another FBI image shows one individual who is suspected of placing pipe bombs at the DNC and RNC headquarters Wednesday. The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for information that contributes to the person pictured.
#FBIWFO is offering a reward of up to $50K for info leading to the location, arrest & conviction of the person(s) responsible for the pipe bombs found in DC on Jan. 6. https://t.co/q9pdw6Rnoy pic.twitter.com/aQ7Vz4uydO
— FBI Washington Field (@FBIWFO) January 8, 2021
Social media has become an increasingly important tool for identifying wanted people. Unlike traditional wanted posters, FBI images like those released yesterday, are seen by millions more people in much less time. The now viral pictures posted to Twitter have hundreds of comments from citizens who are now searching for the people pictured.
Twitter’s viral ability to spread both true and false information has worried experts who believe misidentifications may lead to targeting of private citizens who were not involved in the riots. While the FBI has the authority to release photos of those suspected of crimes, though a doppelganger can be misidentified, which happened in the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
The FBI asks that people submit official tips via their hotline and website in order to avoid potential viral misidentifications.