Caught on video: ‘Cowboys for Trump’ leader Couy Griffin arrested for alleged role in U.S. Capitol riot
WASHINGTON, DC -- "Cowboys for Trump" leader and Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin was arrested by the FBI in Washington on Sunday afternoon on federal charges connected with the Jan. 6 protest-turned-riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Video posted to Twitter by a media crew (which you can view below) showed Griffin being taken into custody by authorities along a D.C. city street near the Capitol.
Per FBI: Couy Griffin, founder of Cowboys for Trump, from New Mexico was arrested this afternoon in DC. He had an arrest warrant for his participation in the January 6 Capitol riots. He said rioters will come back to the Capitol for inauguration. This is the moment of his arrest. pic.twitter.com/3LoXXsYVFD— Alberto Pimienta (@apimientaDC) January 17, 2021
Sources told ABC News that Griffin was the subject of a nationwide be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) alert for his alleged participation in the Capitol riot.
As ABC-7 previously reported, Griffin had pledged to return to the Capitol for the inauguration on Jan. 20 during this past week's county commission meeting. He said he would bring two guns to Washington and “embrace” his Second Amendment rights.
The FBI on Sunday issued the following brief statement about his arrest:
"On the afternoon of January 17, 2021, the U.S. Capitol Police notified the FBI that they had detained Couy Griffin of New Mexico, who was the subject of an arrest warrant for his role in the January 6 Capitol riots. The FBI Washington Field Office took him into custody in the 400 block of North Capitol St., NW. "
Federal court records reviewed by ABC-7 show Griffin was charged with "Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority" based on videos he posted to social media and that also aired on ABC-7 from the Jan. 6 incident.
In an affidavit filed with a federal magistrate, authorities said Griffin also admitted to FBI agents that he was indeed there at the Capitol on Jan. 6, but maintained he did not participate in any violence and just got "caught up in the crowd."
In the interview with FBI agents, Griffin confirmed he was returning for the inauguration and hoped those protests would be non-violent and "without a single shot fired," but then reportedly added there was "no option that's off the table for the sake of freedom."
Griffin did not immediately respond to cell phone messages from ABC-7 seeking comment.
In the wake of his arrest, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas demanded late Sunday that Griffin resign from the Otero County Commission. If he doesn't, the attorney general said he would take "appropriate legal action to seek Griffin’s removal."
Balderas said he sent a letter sent to Griffin outlining multiple accusations requiring him to step down, including his participation in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, misuse of his public office for personal gain and neglect of his duties as a county commissioner.
“An elected office is a public trust, and no official should use it to encourage violence and attack Americans,” said Balderas. “My office will enforce the rule of law to ensure the public’s confidence.”
Below you can view both the entire federal court complaint and law enforcement affidavit documents obtained by ABC-7. (ABC News contributed to this report.)