Man Shown in Video Beating Police Officer with American Flag Is Arrested
The man captured on video beating a police officer with an American flag during last week's riots at the U.S. Capitol has been identified by authorities as an Arkansas resident who called lawmakers inside the Capitol "treasonous traitor[s]" for whom "death is the only remedy," PEOPLE confirms.
Peter Francis Stager became the suspect after a video of the attack appeared on Twitter and someone recognized him and reported him, according to the federal criminal complaint against him obtained by PEOPLE.
The video shows Stager holding an American flag and using "the pole to repeatedly strike [an officer] while on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building," the complaint states.
Another video shows Stager saying, "Everyone in there is a treasonous traitor. Death is the only remedy for what's in that building," referring to the Congressmen and Senators inside the Capitol, according to the complaint.
Stager was arrested Thursday night, the Arkansas Times reports.
According to the complaint, Stager allegedly told an associate of his that he didn't know the man he was attacking was a police officer, and that he'd been under the impression the person he was striking was a member of Antifa. However, the complaint notes that the officer's uniform had "Metropolitan Police" clearly written across the back.
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The complaint alleges Stager admitted to the associate he was the man in both videos.
Stager faces a charge of obstructing, impeding, or interfering with a law enforcement officer lawfully engaged in the performance of his duties during the commission of a civil disorder.
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KATV reports he is being held at the Pulaski County Detention Center and will appear in court for the first time Friday. It was not immediately clear if he has entered a plea or retained an attorney.
The outlet interviewed a neighbor of Stager's, Courtney Knox, who said she hopes the arrest will serve as a cautionary tale.
"I would hope it would affect it in a way that people who want to undermine democracy and act a fool will be dissuaded from doing so," Knox said. "It definitely makes me uneasy and I live here with my family. I've got two kids and we definitely don't agree with his actions or the people like him."