The Department of Justice
- A Vermont man was arrested on several Jan. 6 charges this week.
- Prosecutors say William Arthur Nichols Jr. hit police officers with a shield during the attack.
- Nichols’ scuttle with one officer left them “screaming in pain,” according to court documents.
A Vermont man was arrested on a slew of Jan. 6 charges this week after prosecutors said he wielded a shield against a line of police officers defending the US Capitol in an attack that left at least one officer “screaming in pain.”
William Arthur Nichols Jr., 41, is charged with seven counts stemming from his role in the Capitol riot, including assaulting officers with a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct, and engaging in physical violence with a dangerous weapon. He was arrested in Vermont on Wednesday, according to a Justice Department press release.
Prosecutors said Nichols identified himself by his full name in an open source video “interview” from the scene of the insurrection in which he claimed to be from “the socialist paradise of Vermont.”
Donning a camouflage jacket and tan combat vest, Nichols was spotted in several instances of open source footage and body-worn camera video engaging in violent interactions with police officers on Jan. 6, 2021, according to court records reviewed by Insider.
Prosecutors said Nichols wielded a large circular shield as he worked his way to the front of the crowd where a line of officers was defending the building. Nichols then joined other rioters as they initiated contact with the police, using his shield to hit an officer and causing him to lose his balance, according to court records.
Footage shows several officers attempting to fend off Nichols by pushing back against his shield, prosecutors said. In one video clip, Nichols grabbed an officer’s helmet from behind and pulled him backward, causing him to stumble, according to investigators.
The officer and Nichols then wrestled over the shield and Nichols forcefully pushed the officer and tried to hold on to the shield. Body-worn footage shows other officers attempting to subdue Nichols and going to rescue the officer involved in the scuttle who was left “screaming in pain” from an injury sustained in the attack, according to court documents.
Nichols did not immediately respond to attempts to reach him for comment.
At least 978 people have been charged in connection with the attack thus far, and more than 470 people have pleaded guilty.