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Sturgis man arrested in connection with Jan. 6 Capitol riot

James Haffner appeared in federal court in Rapid City on Wednesday, Dec. 1, charged with assaulting a U.S. Capitol employee, and three other offenses, for his participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — A South Dakota man accused of assaulting a police officer during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol made his first appearance in a federal court Wednesday, Dec. 1

A law officer's affidavit filed in U.S. District Court of D.C. says images captured from the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol show James Haffner, 53, of Sturgis, South Dakota, spraying a Capitol police officer with an aerosol cannister. Court documents say Haffner — wearing a red pro-President Trump baseball cap — illegally entered the U.S. Capitol grounds and ran over toppled barracks.

Haffner, who was living in Seattle at the time of the riot, made an initial appearance before magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann Wednesday at the federal courthouse in Rapid City.

The case files were unsealed on Friday, Dec. 3, and first reported by South Dakota Public Broadcasting . If the case moves forward, Haffner's prosecution will be transferred to Washington, D.C.

Haffner is charged with four federal offenses, including assaulting a federal officer and unlawful entry of a restricted building. He is the first South Dakota resident to be charged in the Capitol riots.


A federal agent said an anonymous tipster flagged the FBI about Haffner on Jan. 8 after the man posted about the attacks on a Facebook account linked to his name.

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