To listen to John Earle Sullivan tell it, he was a passive observer when a mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. Sullivan, who was arrested last July and faces criminal charges in connection with a protest he organized in Utah, claims he was at the U.S. Capitol insurgence last week purely for the purposes of chronicling the insurrection.
“I was there to record. I was there to let people see that situation in the best possible way,” he said in a video posted to Periscope last Friday. But the footage that he uploaded belies his claim he was merely a spectator. DeseretNews reports:
Just after people broke into the building, Sullivan — wearing a gas mask and wielding an iPhone on a stabilizing stick — and a woman who said Wednesday that she was making a documentary on Sullivan, are on the first porch area outside the entrance looking back over the throngs of people around the Capitol. They can be heard encouraging people to climb the wall, saying, “Come on. Let’s go! … We’re all part of this [expletive] history.”… As they enter the rotunda around 15 minutes in, … he says to his companion, “2021! [expletive] This is insanity. I am shook. What is this? What is this painting, you know? King [expletive] bro [expletive]!”
Who Is John Earle Sullivan?
Sullivan is the founder of Insurgence USA, a group organized in reaction to the death of George Floyd. A mission statement at the group’s website notes:
The lack of care for the human life was unacceptable so we set out to end police brutality. We then set out to empower and uplifting [sic] black and indigenous voices. We want to build local powers to enable the community to intervene in violence enacted by the state and government vigilantes. Our mission is the unification of our nation because a people united will never be divided.
The phrase “state and government vigilantes” is obviously a reference to law enforcement.
Elsewhere on the site the group identifies itself as “the revolution”:
Insurgence USA is forming a rainbow coalition to unite all people under one banner to fight for liberation and freedom for all people. How we hope to achieve this is by taking a stance against acts of inhumane violence, discrimination of any form, and political corruption. We are the revolution, lets [sic] show them the power of the people united!
The statement doesn’t mention violence per se, but the police report of Sullivan’s arrest and booking into the Utah County Jail on July 9, 2020 reveals he was under investigation for rioting, making a threat of violence, and criminal mischief.
Video Suggests Riots Were Planned Well Ahead of Trump’s Remarks
In addition to raising the possibility that others who took part in the storming of the Capitol were not Trump supporters, Sullivan’s video also reveals that the uprising was not an impromptu act. “As far as them storming the Capitol, I knew that was going to happen,” he says in his 40-minute long video, according to another DeseretNews article. “I’m on chats that are underground that are sending out flyers that are just like, ‘Storm all Capitols on the 6th.’ It wasn’t anything that was secret. It was something that was out there … and they did it.”
If the riots were pre-planned, that obliterates the theory that they were a kneejerk reaction to inciteful language uttered by Donald Trump.