Jan. 6 Capitol riot: 5 Florida men charged

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FILE – Police stand guard after holding off rioters who tried to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington, on Jan. 6, 2021. Federal authorities say five Florida men affiliated with a militia group have been arrested on charges that they joined a mob’s attack on the U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

(NewsNation) — The FBI arrested five Florida men and self-identified militia members in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Four of the men — Benjamin Cole, 38, of Leesburg; John Edward Crowley, 50, of Windermere; Brian Preller, 33, of Mount Dora; and Jonathan Rockholt, 38, of Palm Coast, Florida — are charged with interfering with a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder, a felony offense.

Those men and a fifth Florida resident — Tyler Bensch, 20, of Casselberry — also are charged with entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted area, all misdemeanors.

There’s a chance that you haven’t heard about this story. Half of the news outlets that reported on the topic were left-leaning, according to NewsNation partner Ground News’ Blindspot report. The other half were outlets aligned in the center of the political spectrum. No right-leaning outlets reported on the topic, according to Ground News’ assessment.

More than 860 people have been arrested in the 19 months since the insurrection, according to an Aug. 24 news release from the Justice Department.

According to court documents, the five men self-identified as members of the “B Squad,” according to the release. The “B Squad” is a subgroup of a militia-style, Florida-based organization known as the “Guardians of Freedom,” which follows the ideology of the “Three Percenters,” according to the Justice Department.

Cole, Crowley, Preller and Rockholt are accused of being part of a group that had an altercation with police in the tunnel area of the Capitol’s Lower West Terrace. Police also say Bensch sprayed another crowd member with a chemical irritant, “even though that person posed no threat to him,” according to the release.

This story is part of NewsNation’s new “Blindspot” initiative in partnership with Ground News to provide readers with contextual, unbiased news they may not find covered by every media outlet.

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