March 26, 2023

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Capitol Rioter Says Insurrection Gave Him ‘Street Cred’

  • One Capitol rioter said he felt proud of his involvement in the January 6, 2021, insurrection. 
  • “It definitely activated me more,” Paul Davis told the New York Times. “It gave me street cred.”
  • He said the Capitol riot inspired him to start a law firm for anti-vax workers.

A man who participated in the storming of the US Capitol last year said he believes he’s earned a “badge of honor” among conservatives for participating in the January 6, 2021, insurrection. 

Paul Davis told the New York Times that he initially felt ashamed of himself for having participated in the Capitol riot. He was fired from his job as a lawyer and his fiancée left him, the Times reported. 

But then he had a change of heart and began to feel proud of his involvement, he told the Times. 

“It definitely activated me more,” Davis said. “It gave me street cred.”

He said the Capitol riot motivated him to start up his own law firm that represents workers who do not want to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. 

Davis was among the 12 people interviewed by the Times who said their participation in the Capitol riot now represents resistance to the status quo. 

The Capitol riot left five people, including one police officer, dead. Members of right-wing extremist groups, including the Proud Boys, which is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, were present. 

Organizers were emboldened by former President Donald Trump’s urges to protest the results of the 2020 election, despite President Joe Biden’s election victory. While members of Congress were meeting inside the Capitol building day to certify the results, supporters organized an attempted coup and stormed the building.

Upon news that the riot breached the Capitol building, lawmakers sheltered in place and many evacuated.

On the day of the riot and in the weeks after, those who attended posted selfies and other photos to their social media platforms, which has been a vital tool for federal investors tracking down who participated. More than 750 people have been charged in connection with the insurrection, according to Insider’s database.

Vox, for example, reported that many rioters posed for photos. Others bragged of their attempt to pull off a coup, the Washington Post said. One woman even identified herself by name in an interview with a reporter posted to Twitter. 

Some Capitol rioters, upon realizing that the FBI was investigating the origin of the riot, have scrambled to delete evidence of their participation.