WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJZ/CNN) — A Virginia man who wore a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt when a violent mob of Pro-Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday was arrested, per multiple news sources.
Robert Keith Packer was arrested Wednesday in Newport News, Virginia. Seven people have been charged in federal court in connection with crimes committed at the U.S. Capitol riots in DC last week.
According to the arrest warrant, Packer is facing federal charges of unlawfully entering a restricted area and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
According to CBS affiliate WTKF, Packer was being held at Western Tidewater Regional Jail in Suffolk.
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) January 13, 2021
A photograph shows Packer inside the Capitol wearing a sweatshirt bearing the name of the Nazi concentration camp, where more than 1 million people were killed during World War II, CNN reports. The bottom of his shirt read, “Work brings freedom” — a rough translation of a phrase “Arbeit macht frei,” which was on the camp’s gates.
The presence of anti-Semitic symbols and sentiment at the Capitol riot raised alarms among Jewish Americans and experts who track discrimination and see it as part of an ongoing, disturbing trend, The Associated Press reports.
CRISIS AT THE CAPITOL:
- Reward Offered As FBI, DC Police Seek Public’s Help To Identify Pro-Trump Rioters Who Rushed U.S. Capitol
- Capitol Police Officer Dies Due To Injuries Sustained During Riots At U.S. Capitol Building
The insurrection was “not so much a tipping point” for anti-Semitism but rather “the latest explicit example of how (it) is part of what animates the narratives of extremists in this country,” said Oren Segal, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism to the AP.
One Virginia resident, who spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, described Packer as a long-time extremist who has had run-ins with the law.
“He’s been always extreme and very vocal about his beliefs,” the resident said.
Another source familiar with Packer described him as an “off-beat” character who has expressed frustrations with the government, though this source did not recall Packer ever talking about President Donald Trump or false allegations of voter fraud.
A third source said Packer previously worked as a welder and pipe-fitter.
Virginia court records show that Packer has a criminal history that includes three convictions for driving under the influence and a felony conviction for forging public records. In 2016, he was charged for allegedly trespassing, though that case was dismissed.
Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died during the assault on the Capitol. More than 70 people have been charged and even more have been arrested.
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Note: Some Associated Press reporting was used in this article.