A man arrested in Rapid City faces four federal charges after being accused of scaling a wall, dismantling barricades and assaulting police officers with spray cans during the January 6 riot on the United States Capitol.
James Haffner was living near Seattle at the time of the riot but now lives in South Dakota, according to an affidavit prepared by an FBI agent.
Defense attorney John Rusch said his client resides in Rapid City and was arrested there.
Haffner is indicted in Washington, DC, in federal court, but first appeared at the Rapid City federal courthouse on Wednesday, court records show. The proceedings were closed to the public as the case was sealed at the time, but have since been opened.
Haffner, who is in his early fifties, is accused of:
- Assault, resist or interfere with law enforcement.
- Violent and illegal entry of restricted buildings.
- Obstruction of the application of the law during a civil disturbance.
- Disorderly entry and conduct on the Capitol grounds.
Haffner was released before trial but is not allowed to own guns or travel to Washington unless it relates to his criminal case, court records show.
He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Rapid City on December 22. If there is a probable reason to pursue the case, she will be transferred to DC court, Rusch said.
Haffner is the first person residing in South Dakota to be charged in connection with the Capitol Riot, according to the Capitol Hill Siege Tracker of the George Washington University Extremism Program. He is one of 680 people indicted to date.
The 24-page affidavit is filled with photos and video stills of a man participating in the riot and spraying police. The FBI says this man is Haffner.
The document states that Haffner scaled a concrete wall and helped others to climb it. Rioters then knocked down a fence guarded by officers, and Haffner was reportedly among the first of the thousands to rush to the West Capitol Square.
Officers in riot gear formed a line between the rioters and the building. Haffner reportedly traveled to the east side of the Capitol where he helped dismantle the police barricades.
Haffner and others reached a door of the Capitol which was guarded by a few officers. The door is adjacent to the rotunda where lawmakers were hiding, the affidavit states.
“Haffner raised his hand and sprayed an aerosol substance on the USCP officers who were standing a few rows in front of them, trying to guard the gates of Columbus,” the affidavit states, referring to the State Capitol Police. -United. “Shortly after Haffner sprayed the officers as shown in the pictures below, rioters walked through the gates of Columbus and entered the Capitol.”
This video posted on YouTube by journalist Michael Nigro shows several people assaulting officers at a gate on the east side of the Capitol. The affidavit is based on footage from Nigro and other public sources.
The photos captured Haffner carrying the spray can inside the Capitol, the affidavit states.
The document also describes how the FBI identified Haffner.
Plane and hotel records show that Haffner flew from Seattle to DC on January 5 and stayed at a DC hotel before returning on January 7. Photos from the South Dakota driver’s license and the man’s Facebook account appear to match photos of him during the riot. The FBI also received a tip about the man that included his Facebook page.
The affidavit includes a photo of a man who the FBI says is Haffner. He says the photo was found on a social media account owned by Haffner’s wife.
SDPB found an identical photograph on Facebook from an account of a woman with the last name Haffner whose own Facebook page says she is married to Jim Haffner.
The photograph shows a man – who the FBI says is James Haffner – and a woman posing with electoral conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell. The photo uses the hashtag #SturgisRally. The man wears a muscle Trump shirt that says “Make America Great Again” and a red hat that says “Re-elect that (curse)”.
Powell organized several events around the Black Hills during the motorcycle rally.