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Detention ordered for Conway man charged after beating in Capitol riot

by Dale Ellis | January 22, 2021 at 6:37 p.m.
Peter Francis Stager (Pulaski County sheriff's office & Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Thomas Metthe)

A Conway man accused of beating a Capitol Police officer with a flagpole during the Jan. 6 riot in Washington, D.C., was ordered held in jail Friday by a federal judge in Little Rock, who told him he would be detained “until all charges in this matter are resolved.”

Peter Francis Stager, 41, is charged with one count of civil disorder, according to a complaint filed Jan. 14 in federal court in Washington, D.C.

In announcing his decision Friday, Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Thomas Ray suggested that, based upon the video evidence shown in court, a D.C. grand jury could bring additional charges against Stager.

Stager is accused of being the man shown in a widely circulated video who was beating a Capitol Police officer with a flagpole to which a U.S. flag was affixed. The attack was made at the U.S. Capitol as Congress was certifying the electoral vote tally that formalized Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.

Rioters breached Capitol security on Jan. 6 and forced their way into the seat of U.S. government, leading to a delay in the proceedings. The attack resulted in the deaths of five people, including a Capitol Police officer.

Another video placed into evidence shows a man who appears to be Stager talking to a news crew, saying “everyone in that building is a treasonous traitor” and that “the only remedy for that is death.”

Ray said he did not consider Stager to be a flight risk. However, Ray said that Stager was at high risk of being triggered into committing further acts of politically motivated violence — a risk that Ray concluded was too great to allow Stager to remain free while his case moves forward.

More details on this story in Saturday's Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.


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