Robert Packer of Newport News, Va., Appears in a photo Wednesday following his arrest on federal charges related to the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan.6. Western Tidewater Regional Jail / AP .
. Western Tidewater Regional Jail / PA
Western Tidewater Regional Jail / PA
One of the most enduring images of the assault on the US Capitol was of a bearded man with long hair wearing a black sweatshirt with a skull and crossbones and the words “Camp Auschwitz” in large letters.
The FBI, in an affidavit released ahead of a court appearance on Wednesday, identified him as Robert Packer, 56, of Newport News, Va.
Packer was arrested at his home, according to the affidavit, and appeared Wednesday in a virtual hearing before US Justice of the Peace Douglas Miller in Norfolk, Virginia. Packer faces two counts: knowingly entering or remaining in a building or restricted land without legal authorization; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on the Capitol grounds.
The affidavit says that Packer was first identified by “media” and that the FBI matched photographs taken on Capitol Hill with Packer’s driver’s license. The affidavit includes images of Packer both outside and inside the Capitol, which appeared on social media and on a UK television network.
Camp Auschwitz refers to the complex of German labor and extermination camps in occupied Poland during World War II, in which more than a million people were murdered, most of them Jews. Packer’s sweatshirt also included the words “Work Brings Freedom”, an inaccurate translation of the German slogan that was above the entrance to the camp, “Arbeit Macht Frei”.
Packer was released on his own initiative, according to Norfolk NBC affiliate WAVY. He was not required to post a bond, but was ordered to stay away from Washington, DC He has a virtual court appearance scheduled for Jan. 19 in US District Court in DC
Interim District of Columbia District Attorney Michael Sherwin has said hundreds should be charged in connection with the attack on the Capitol.
The affidavit includes a December 11 security camera photo of Packer wearing the same sweatshirt at a store near Newport News. An unidentified witness had contacted the FBI to tell them that Packer was a regular customer of the store. The witness did not know Packer’s name.
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