The young man in the blue jacket with the bright green
hood appears at the top of the platform set up for Joe Biden
's presidential inauguration, holding a fire extinguisher. He looks down on the D.C. and Capitol Police
officers below, who are attempting to repel a pro-Trump mob attempting to storm the U.S. Capitol and prevent the certification of Biden's 2020 victory.
The man in the hood creates a dense cloud of smoke, blinding officers below to the actions of the growing mob; some flee to avoid the irritant; and not long after, the young man jumps through a broken window and enters the building.
suspect no. 255-AFO, wanted for assaulting federal officers at the Capitol, has been a top target in the bureau's nationwide manhunt for Trump supporters
who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. The bureau even released a compilation video of images of the suspect, dubbed "Green Horn Hoodlum" by online sleuths.
Officers from the police department wanted to know the man's identity.
He'd given it to them already.
Nicholas James Brockhoff, 20, of Covington, Kentucky
, was arrested on Thursday and charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers, using a deadly or dangerous weapon, and obstructing law enforcement during a civil disorder.
But it wasn't a tip from the public that led to Brockhoff's arrest; it was evidence already in the government's possession when Brockhoff, on police body
camera, identified himself by his name on Jan. 6.
According to an FBI special agent's affidavit, Brockhoff encountered Metropolitan Police Department officers after climbing through a broken Capitol window while holding a stolen MPD helmet.
One officer told Brockhoff he was "locked up," but officers were so unprepared and overburdened on Jan. 6 that they didn't make many arrests and, in fact, released people
they'd detained because making an arrest could put officers in danger, and there weren't even enough people to process those arrested.
Officers apparently obtained important information before releasing Brockhoff.
The officer inquired, "What is your name?"
Nick replied, "Nick."
The officer inquired, "Nick what?"
Brockhoff responded, "Brockhoff."
The sprawling federal investigation
into the Capitol attack
will go down in history as one of the largest in American history
. More than 400 defendants have already been charged, and hundreds more arrests are on the way. The FBI has received literally hundreds of thousands of tips. It's a logistical nightmare, and it's easy to imagine how a critical piece of evidence against one of the alleged perpetrators could be lost.
Another Capitol defendant, who also attacked officers with a fire extinguisher, was identified through crowdsourcing efforts because he had also named himself on video after his attack; the difference was that Robert Scott Palmer gave his name to a livestreamer in a video that was publicly available on YouTube
, whereas Brockhoff identified himself on police body camera footage that is only accessible if you are a member of the media.
The FBI's oversight in the Brockhoff case raises concerns about the bureau's use of facial recognition technology, which has been used to identify Capitol rioters using images publicly posted on social media
websites such as Instagram
If properly organized, facial recognition and comparison tools should have been able to connect the various images of Brockhoff to the police body camera footage in the bureau's possession. (There is much less publicly available footage from inside the Capitol building, which is why Capitol sleuthing networks didn't appear to pick up on much of Brockhoff's activities inside.)
Brockhoff was arrested in Tennessee
, and federal court records show that the government intends to seek pretrial detention
in his case. Magistrate Judge Jon A. York ordered Brockhoff to be held temporarily and scheduled a probable cause and detention hearing for June 3.