WASHINGTON — An Arkansas man who is accused of using a flagpole to beat a police officer during last week’s riots at the US Capitol has been charged by federal authorities, officials said.
Peter Francis Stager, 41, faces one count of obstructing a police officer from his duties during a civil disorder, according to a federal complaint filed Thursday in Washington, DC.
Stager was captured on video and photographs striking the prone DC Metropolitan Police officer after rioters dragged him down the Capitol’s west stairs, officials said.
Witnesses had recognized the suspect and alerted authorities, officials said.
Federal and local law enforcement officers arrived at Stager’s home in Conway, Arkansas, about 6:30 p.m. Thursday. They learned he was not at the residence, but found him at the undisclosed attorney’s office. Stager surrendered there, the spokesman said.
Authorities remained at the Hathaway Drive location an hour later, where the spokesman said they were conducting a sweep of the area and collecting evidence, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
Stager was being held at the Pulaski County Detention Center and will have his first court appearance Friday.
The injured officer — identified as B.M. in the statement of facts – had been posted in an archway outside the Capitol, New York Post reported.
“From this archway, alongside other uniformed law enforcement officers, B.M. observed hundreds of individuals gathered outside,” FBI Special Agent Jason Coe wrote in the statement.
“Some of these individuals were throwing and swinging various objects at the group of law enforcement officers,” he wrote. “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.
“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,” Coe added.