In the Capitol riot case from January 6, the FBI detains the alleged sedition panda

panda masks worn by rioters

The FBI has detained a man who is accused of taking part in the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021 while donning an odd mask: a huge panda head.

Jesse James Rumson, who some have dubbed the "sedition panda," was detained in Florida.

He is now being prosecuted on a number of counts, including physical violence on private property and assaulting or resisting a police officer.

Since the riot, nearly 1,000 people have been taken into custody.

Court records state that Mr. Rumson was recognized by the FBI as a result of a tip and a review of video that showed him donning and removing the panda mask while traveling to the Capitol with his face clearly visible. .

He is thought to have been one of the first rioters to use a large door that had been breached to enter the building there.

Photos taken inside the structure appear to show Mr. Rumson walking around the premises while wearing a panda mask before eventually taking off the disguise and leaving the premises.

Prosecutors think Mr. Rumson was only in the Capitol for a total of 15 minutes before leaving. But outside, video reveals that he urged other rioters to "get a ram" to break through another entrance.

After that, according to the affidavit, he "ran through the crowd towards the officer, reaching out and grabbing the officer's face shield, forcing the officer's head and neck backwards and upwards.".

Web sleuths looking to identify rioters circulated additional photos of Mr. Rumson, many of which appear to show him wearing the panda mask.

Along with the assault allegations, Mr. Rumson is also facing charges of disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, obstructing law enforcement during a civil disturbance, and disorderly and disruptive behavior.

The date of his court appearance is unknown. BBC News has requested comment from the FBI and justice department.

As of 7 February, more than 985 people had been detained in almost every US state as well as Washington, DC, according to the Department of Justice's most recent report on the investigation into the riot of 6 January.

Of the total, 319 people face charges of assaulting, obstructing, or restraining law enforcement, including 105 who are accused of using a deadly weapon or inflicting "serious bodily harm.".

About 260 rioters, some of whom were captured on camera assaulting Capitol police and journalists, are still at large, and the FBI is still asking for the public's assistance in identifying and apprehending them.

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