A South Dakota man accused of taking part in the 2021 Capitol riot rapped about the insurrection on YouTube, federal agents say.
According to a criminal complaint, Billy Knutson, 36, posted photos of himself outside the Capitol on the day of the attack. A relative of his told the FBI about the photos, and a second source showed them a video that allegedly showed Mr Knutson climbing into the Capitol Building through a broken window.
As if that weren’t enough, the first source also said Mr Knutson was a rapper on YouTube – and many of his songs were about the riot.
“We been fighting for y’all, and this how you treat us? Calling us traitors and claim we not peaceful?” Mr Knutson raps in one of his songs, “Patriots Message to the World.”
According to the charging document, the YouTube channel helped FBI agents identify Mr Knutson.
“This channel posted several videos of KNUTSON performing songs, several of which were about the events at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021,” Special Agent Richard Sutherland wrote in the complaint. “The artist performing the songs on this YouTube channel is consistent in size, tattoos, and appearance with the person who was depicted climbing into the Capitol building in the submitted video, based on my observations.”
Mr Knutson has been charged with entering and remaining in a restricted building, two counts of disorderly conduct, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
According to the Associated Press, he was released after his first court appearance in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Wednesday.
Mr Knutson’s music videos feature multiple video clips of the 6 January insurrection. In his lyrics, he also appears to defend the actions of the rioters.
“We tried to be peaceful, did everything right. ‘Cept for [unintelligible] didn’t start a single fight,” he rhymes in “Patriots Message to the World.”
In another song, “MAGA Warfare: You Can’t Hide,” Mr Knutson declares himself a member of the Proud Boys, an SPLC-designated hate group that was heavily involved in the Capitol riot.
“I’m a Proud Boy, you a nonviolent island boy,” he taunts Loza Alexander, a rival anti-Joe Biden rapper. “When I got banned from the platform, where was y’all at? Ain’t nobody had my back except the yellow and black.”
Yellow and black are the signature colours of the Proud Boys. By the end of 2021, 34 members of the far-right group had been charged in connection to the 6 January attack, according to CNBC. Canada’s Department of Public Safety has declared the group a terrorist organisation.
The Independent has reached out to Mr Knutson for comment.