WASHINGTON D.C., DC — A Dallas man accused of using a crutch to assault police officers at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 has been taken in custody, according to a federal criminal complaint.
According to the FBI, Luke Russell Coffee turned himself in Thursday at a federal courthouse in D-FW.
According to federal documents, Coffee faces a handful of charges including assault of federal law enforcement officer with a dangerous weapon, interference with law enforcement officers during civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, unlawful entry on restricted grounds, and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
The FBI said it has several pictures and videos showing Coffee assaulting the law enforcement officers.
Coffee admitted to being at the Capitol
On Jan. 16, the FBI published a "Seeking Information" poster with photos of people accused of participating in the riot. These people were specifically accused of assaulting officers at the Capitol.
FBI officials said they received several tips about Coffee's identity after one of the posters included his photo from that day.
According to federal documents, these tips included screenshots of Coffee, as he was described wearing specifically a brown cowboy style hat, camouflage jacket, blue bandana, and grey backpack while at the capitol.
During an interview on Jan. 11, a person who had met Coffee last summer told FBI officials they recognized him as appearing in videos of the riot at the Capitol posted on social media and YouTube.
The person also told authorities that in October 2020, Coffee had posted videos on social media discussing several conspiracy theories. According to the court documents, on Jan. 13, an FBI agent in Dallas conducted a phone interview with Coffee.
During the interview, Coffee said he left Dallas on Jan. 4 to travel to Washington D.C. and admitted to being at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to the complaint.
Coffee allegedly admitted to the agent that he wore a brown hat and held up a crutch over his head while at the Capitol. However, he claimed he didn't engage in any type of physical confrontations with the police while at the Capitol, according to the criminal complaint.
Coffee told the FBI agent he returned to Dallas around Jan. 7, according to authorities.
Video of Coffee taking part in the riots
Authorities said they obtained video evidence that showed around 4 to 4:30 p.m. Coffee was on the steps of the Capitol, specifically on the steps of the Lower Terrace tunnel entranceway.
At one point, the video shows Coffee turned towards the crowd and he appeared to make several statements, none of which were audible, authorities said.
Authorities said around 4:20 p.m. Coffee proceeded into the Lower Terrace entranceway. This was in the direction of officers who were attempting to prevent the rioters from entering the Capitol.
The federal criminal complaint states during this time period, rioters violently confronted officers, struck and threw items at police, and in one instance an officer was violently dragged down the steps.
Coffee was captured on video footage approaching these officers at the same time that the officers were being violently engaged by rioters, according to documents.
FBI officials said not only did a security surveillance camera from the Capitol building show Coffee in the crowd, but a police body camera also showed him approaching officers.
Authorities said Coffee was seen with a crutch in his hand, which is the same crutch that was used by rioters to attack officers.
The FBI agent said one video showed Coffee pick up the crutch and hold it over his head. At first, Coffee turned and faced the crowd of rioters and then turned and approached the line of police officers with the crutch still over his head. A screenshot from the same Capitol Building security video is shown below.
According to federal documents, several videos that were shared by the public to authorities showed different angles of the crowd at this time.
The FBI said around 4:28 p.m. Coffee was seen with the crutch near his waist before he proceeded to push the crutch into the line of officers.
According to the criminal complaint, one of the officers’ bodycam videos showed Coffee come into physical contact with an officer.
At one point, the officer appeared to grab Coffee with his right hand to try and force him back, but Coffee continued to hold the crutch below his waist, documents state.
Officials said more police bodycam footage recorded the moments after Coffee was forced away and back from officers.
According to authorities, the video showed that after Coffee was forced back from officers, he charged at police while still holding the crutch. The video also showed Coffee holding the crutch in a more aggressive manner and position towards police, officials said.
Federal officials said based on the video footage evidence, it appeared that Coffee intended to further use the crutch as "a blunt object weapon" by positioning it directly toward the officer’s upper chest and head area. Bodycam footage also showed two officers trying to hold Coffee back, according to the complaint.
Court documents said around 4:30 p.m., video footage showed Coffee move back down the stairs of the Lower Terrace while he was being assisted by another rioter. Authorities said they didn't see Coffee engage police officers after he left the Lower Terrace area.