90 Miles From Tyranny : J6 Defendant on Ray Epps: ‘They Are Protecting Him Like Crazy’

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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

J6 Defendant on Ray Epps: ‘They Are Protecting Him Like Crazy’

Epps’ unusual defenders make less and less sense.

He is one of the most consequential—and complicated—individuals involved in the events of January 6.

Ryan Samsel, then a 37-year-old Pennsylvania barber, drove to Washington on the morning of January 6, 2021 with his girlfriend to watch Donald Trump’s speech. Unable to hear the president, they walked east towards Capitol Hill where a large group, including members of the Proud Boys, had assembled.

Samsel soon found himself on the front lines of a protest the national media and Joe Biden immediately branded an “insurrection.” Video shows Samsel approaching a weak line of Capitol police officers and bike racks positioned on the west side of Capitol grounds shortly before 1 p.m., the time Congress convened a joint session to debate the results of the 2020 Electoral College vote certification.

Wearing a white hoodie underneath a jean jacket and a red “Make America Great Again” cap, Samsel appears to engage one of the officers guarding the large outdoor area that leads to the building.

Interactions between protesters and police got heated. The officer in front of Samsel shoved a bike rack with an “Area Closed” sign into a few protesters, including Samsel, who grabbed the fence. He then proceeded to remove his jacket and turn his hat backwards as if spoiling for a fight.

At that point, someone can be heard behind Samsel yelling, “hey, hey, hey!” A large man, also donning a red cap, grabbed Samsel’s right shoulder and pulled him away from the officer. The man spoke directly to Samsel then cupped his hand to whisper in his ear. Samsel immediately returned to the barricades, where a shoving match ensued. The racks and police were overrun—the individual who spoke to Samsel remained right behind him.

That man was Ray Epps.

It would become a pivotal moment in the events of January 6. In fact, a snapshot of Epps whispering to Samsel remains on the Twitter page of the Washington field office of the FBI in a collage of photos of those “who committed violence” at the Capitol.

What Epps—the still-uncharged agitator who first became a subject of public scrutiny after a 2021 exposé in Revolver News—said to Samsel in that iconic exchange has been the subject of speculation for more than two years.

The New York Times reported Epps told the FBI tip line he attempted to de-escalate the situation between Samsel and police. Epps gave the same story to the January 6 Select Committee. “OK, you know, that’s not why we’re here,” Epps told the committee about his interaction with Samsel. “You’ve got to be peaceful, [I] pulled him back and told him, it’s not what we’re about.”

Samsel’s initial FBI interview, according to Times reporter Alan Feuer, provided a similar account. “Samsel said much the same thing, telling investigators that a man he did not know came up to him at the barricades and suggested he relax, according to a recording of the interview obtained by The New York Times,” Feuer wrote in May 2022. “‘He came up to me and he said, ‘Dude’—his entire words were, ‘Relax, the cops are doing their job.’”

But in a phone conversation with American Greatness last week, Samsel disputed Epps’ testimony and contradicted what he reportedly told the FBI a few weeks after the Capitol protest.

“[Epps] said to me, ‘Don’t pull. I’ve got people. We have to push through.’”

Arrested on January 30, 2021, Samsel has been behind bars ever since. Prosecutors argued Samsel’s history—unlike most January 6 defendants, Samsel has a criminal record that...

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

See I A loves former-marines, they simply do what they are told. Ray Epps is a long line of those in ground branch and other what they believe to be "clandestine"ops fer Merica! Useful idiots.