When federal authorities arrested a Capitol rioter who called for the deaths of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a Capitol Police officer in January, they knew they had their guy, because he was allegedly wearing a shirt bearing the words “I Was There, Washington D.C., January 6, 2021.”
Federal prosecutors disclosed details from 34-year-old Garret Miller’s January 20 arrest in a court filing Monday, in which they encouraged a federal judge to keep Miller in jail until his trial. In February, Miller was indicted by a grand jury on 12 counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding; interstate threats to injure or kidnap; and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers.
Five people died as a result of the Capitol violence on January 6, and more than 400 people have been charged in connection with the riot.
Miller, who is from Dallas, posted several photos and videos of himself in the Capitol during the riot, including a selfie on Facebook, of him wearing a Make America Great Again hat. In reply to a friend’s comment on the picture, according to a criminal complaint against Miller, he responded: “Just wanted to incriminate myself a little lol.”
Miller directly replied to a tweet from Ocasio-Cortez following the riot in which the House Democrat called for Trump’s impeachment with the words: “Assassinate AOC.” He also wrote a social media post calling for vigilante justice against the officer who killed Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt and to “hug his neck with a nice rope.” (A previous court filing from Miller’s lawyers said he believed Babbitt, who was 35 at the time of her death, was a child.)
Miller was arrested while wearing the aforementioned shirt, which also featured a picture of former President Donald Trump and the words “Take America Back.” Police also seized “several firearms,” ammunition, a crossbow with a scope and arrows, two ropes and a grappling hook, body armor, an Oakley helmet and night vision goggles, and a mouthguard.
Miller did not say anything to police during the arrest, but apparently later told his mother during a call recorded by the Department of Corrections, “I don’t feel that I’ve done anything wrong and now I’m being locked up.”
Following his arrest, Miller apologized to Ocasio-Cortez and the Capitol Police Department through his lawyer, and pinned the blame for his participation in the riot on Trump.
“While I never intended to harm Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez nor harm any members of the Capitol police force, I recognize that my social media posts were completely inappropriate,” Miller said in a statement to VICE News in January. “They were made at a time when Donald Trump had me believing that an American election was stolen.”
“I want to publicly apologize to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and the Capitol police officers,” Miller said. “I have always supported law enforcement and I am ashamed by my comments.”
Miller’s lawyer, Clint Broden, wrote in a court filing earlier this month seeking to revoke Miller’s detention that his client’s online posts were “incendiary and vile” but that prosecutors haven’t produced “clear and convincing evidence” that Miller would be a danger to the community if he were to be released.
“He has no history of violence, and he did not engage in any acts of violence in connection with the charged offenses, unlike many others who have previously been released,” Broden said. He noted that law enforcement had surveilled Miller for a week prior to the arrest and hadn’t discovered any evidence of intent to act on the threats, and that law enforcement had seized all of Miller’s weapons.
Miller is currently being held in Oklahoma City and his transit to D.C. has been delayed, as prosecutors said in their filing Monday that he broke his collarbone “while playing in the recreation yard at the facility in Dallas” and that the injury might require surgery. They asked U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols to keep Miller in jail until his trial, arguing that there’s no circumstances “which can effectively ensure the safety of any other person and the community and reasonably assure the appearance of Miller.”