Help us support local, independent news.
100% of reader donations support our local journalists.
For less than a subscription to the Journal for one reader, you can keep our news free for everyone in ABQ.
- Asked about violence, Griffin told FBI agents “no option is off the table”
- FBI uses local news reports and his own social media to identify him and build a case
- Griffin investigated by FBI’s domestic terrorism task force
The US Capitol Police have taken Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin, 47, into custody on a warrant issued by the Albuquerque office of the FBI. An FBI statement Sunday afternoon confirmed that Griffin was arrested at the US Capitol for his involvement in the Trump-inspired assault on the United States Congress.
Earlier in the week, The Paper. reported that Griffin told an Otero County Commission meeting that he intended to return to DC with guns before the inauguration on Wednesday.
The Paper. was the first news outlet to report on a disturbing series of videos Griffin recorded inside the mob crowd and at a Virginia hotel the next day. Griffin is clearly within the secure area of the Capitol’s west front where the inauguration platforms were being constructed. In that video Griffin said he would do “whatever it takes to take our country back.”
The following morning, Griffin posted a new video where he called for a new action against the Capitol to “plant our flag” on the desks of Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer. He said there would be “blood coming from the building,” if necessary.
Documents obtained from the US Department of Justice Sunday show that Griffin was charged with “Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority.”
DC-area Telmundo reporter Alberto Pimienta shared a video of what he reported to be the arrest of Griffin by the FBI. The man in the video appears to be Griffin surrounded by multiple FBI agents wearing bullet-proof vests using undercover vehicles.
Per FBI: Couy Griffin, founder of Cowboys for Trump, from New Mexico was arrested this afternoon in DC. He had an arrest warrant for his participation in the January 6 Capitol riots. He said rioters will come back to the Capitol for inauguration. This is the moment of his arrest. pic.twitter.com/3LoXXsYVFD— Alberto Pimienta (@apimientaDC) January 17, 2021
In the affidavit supporting a warrant for Griffin’s arrest specifically references the videos first shared by The Paper and later by other news outlets.
Notably, the documents disclose that the Metropolitan Police (DC) detective investigating Griffin is assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force which the FBI describes as federal-state joint investigative units serving as “our nation’s front line of defense against terrorism, both international and domestic.” It is the first time that Griffin is publicly associated with federal agents responsible for investigating domestic terrorism.
During the Otero County Commission meeting earlier this week, Griffin confirmed that he had been interviewed by the FBI.
DOJ documents show that when agents asked Griffin about the upcoming inauguration, he told agents that he hoped it would occur “without a shot being fired” but added “no option that’s off the table for the sake of freedom.”
Support Independent New Mexico Reporters Who Have Followed This Story From The Beginning.
The FBI affidavit also mentions that FBI agents interviewed Matt Struck who is identified as the “media director” for Cowboys for Trump and who appears to be the person who shot the video of Griffin addressing the crowd and camera during the riot. Struck told the FBI that Griffin remained in the secure area for approximately one hour and a half and left when pepper spray began to spread. Other videos from that location on that day show police officers desperately trying to stop the crowd with Griffin from entering the west front entrance of the Capitol by using pepper spray and batons.
More information will be shared as the story develops. Follow on Facebook to follow this story. Read the FBI documents below.
Follow The Paper on Facebook
Read the original documents here: