Arkansas man accused of beating officer with US flagpole

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas man was accused Thursday of beating a police officer with a pole flying a U.S. flag during last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to court documents.

In an arrest affidavit filed Thursday in federal court in Washington, an FBI agent said Peter Francis Stager is shown in video and photographs striking a prone police officer repeatedly with the flagpole after rioters dragged the officer down the Capitol’s west stairs.

Confidential informants had recognized Stager in riot video and photographs and alerted authorities, who have charged Stager with interfering with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder, according to the affidavit.

Stager was in custody Thursday, said Allison Bragg, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Little Rock, Arkansas. She referred all questions about the arrest to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, where a spokesman did not immediately return a message Thursday.

No attorney was listed for Stager in court records.

Stager is the second Arkansas resident to be arrested and charged with participating in the Jan. 6 attack of the Capitol by pro-Trump loyalists that left five people dead, including a police officer. A detention hearing is scheduled for Friday in federal court in Little Rock for Richard Barnett, 60, of Gravette, Arkansas, who remains in federal custody after his arrest on charges that included unlawfully entry to a restricted area with a lethal weapon — in this case, a stun gun.

The FBI identified Barnett as a rioter photographed sitting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office chair during the Capitol insurrection. He surrendered to federal agents on Jan. 8.

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