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Arkansas man accused of beating Capitol police officer with American flag during riot

Updated: Jan. 14, 2021 at 9:40 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A second Arkansas man is facing federal charges after last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Peter Francis Stager, of Conway, was charged Thursday in Washington D.C. with obstructing law enforcement during civil disorder.

According to court documents, two of Stager’s acquaintances identified him in two different videos on Twitter.

In one video, the man is shown among a large group on the stairs of the Capitol building. He then climbs the stairs holding a flag pole with the United States flag and repeatedly uses the pole to hit a Capitol police officer lying face down on the steps.

Peter Stager, of Arkansas, is accused of beating a Capitol police officer with an American flag...
Peter Stager, of Arkansas, is accused of beating a Capitol police officer with an American flag during the insurrection. Two people identified him in social media videos, according to court documents.(U.S. District Court, District of Columbia)
Peter Stager, of Arkansas, is accused of beating a Capitol police officer with an American flag...
Peter Stager, of Arkansas, is accused of beating a Capitol police officer with an American flag during the insurrection. Two people identified him in social media videos, according to court documents.(U.S. District Court, District of Columbia)

The second video shows the same man saying, “Everybody in there is a treasonous traitor. Death is the only remedy for what’s in that building.”

FBI agents interviewed both people who identified the man as Stager, one of whom said they’d spoken with Stager about his involvement in the riot. That person said Stager claimed he thought he was hitting ANTIFA, not a police officer. He apologized for his behavior, the informant said, and said he was “wired up” because he was tear-gassed.

Peter Stager, of Arkansas, is accused of beating a Capitol police officer with an American flag...
Peter Stager, of Arkansas, is accused of beating a Capitol police officer with an American flag during the insurrection. Two people identified him in social media videos, according to court documents.(U.S. District Court, District of Columbia)

Special Agent Jason Coe writes in the court filing that photographs and video of the incident, some of which were included in court documents, show the officer’s uniform with “METROPOLITAN POLICE” on the back. Coe writes he believes Stager clearly saw police markings on the uniform and knew it was law enforcement.

With information from both tipsters, investigators compared photos and video from the riot to Stager’s Arkansas driver’s license and believe it’s the same man.

Stager is the second Arkansas man to be charged. Last week, Richard Barnett, of Gravette, was arrested and charged after being photographed in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s chair.

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