BLM activist charged over role in Capitol riot

Utah man on video allegedly encouraging protesters despite claiming he was only there to “document” events.


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mugshot of John Earle Sullivan
John Earle Sullivan
(Tooele County Sheriff’s Office)

Over a week after the scarring violence of Jan. 6,  a more nuanced picture of what actually happened that day is only just beginning to emerge.

A Black Lives Matter activist from Utah who joined the mob that stormed the Capitol is among the latest to be arrested – despite claiming he only entered the building to document the mayhem.

John Earle Sullivan was taken into custody Thursday after video emerged purportedly showing him cheering on the rioters.

The 26-year-old was charged with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building, one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and one count of interfering with law enforcement, according to a Department of Justice release.

Sullivan, “wearing a ballistics vest and gas mask, entered the U.S. Capitol through a window that had been broken out, pushing past U.S. Capitol Police once inside,” the complaint alleges.

The suspect filmed multiple videos of the carnage, which he uploaded to YouTube under his username, “Jayden X”.

In one clip he provided to the FBI, Sullivan is heard telling rioters climbing a wall, “You guys are f—–g savage. Let’s go!”

Another clip allegedly shows him encouraging others once inside the building, according to court papers.

“We got to get this s**t burned,” Sullivan allegedly declares, adding: “It’s our house motherf*****.”

He can also be heard in the footage telling cops, “you are putting yourself in harm’s way – the people have spoken,” and “there are too many people, you gotta stand down.”

Sullivan, who founded Insurgence USA, a group set up in the wake of the killing of George Floyd to end police brutality, had previously told KSL-TV he was only at the Capitol to “document” the violence.

The activist similarly portrayed himself as a passive observer merely gathering a record of events during an appearance on CNN last week.

Sullivan gave a very different account of what he was doing inside the Capitol when speaking with Anderson Cooper on CNN last week

In an interview with Rolling Stone published Wednesday, Sullivan also claimed that he was putting on an act to blend in with Trump supporters.

“I had to relate to these people, and build trust in the short amount of time,” he said.

According to the magazine, Sullivan is already facing rioting and criminal mischief charges “stemming from a Black Lives Matter protest in Utah last year.”

He is one of more than 170 people who have now been charged in relation to the siege.

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