A Sandy man and Utah activist arrested in July in connection to the Provo protests is in custody once again for his alleged involvement in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Authorities arrested 26-year-old John Earle Sullivan of Sandy on Wednesday after they allege he interfered with law enforcement during the commission of civil disorder and knowingly entered a restricted building without lawful authority with the intention to disrupt orderly conduct of government business. Additionally, officials allege Sullivan engaged in disorderly or disruptive conduct in the Capitol Building.
According to the affidavit filed in support of Sullivan’s arrest, at around 2 p.m. on Jan. 6, individuals involved in a protest taking place outside of the Capitol Building forced their way over barricades and past law enforcement officers by engaging in abusive conduct toward authorities.
The crowd advanced to the exterior facade of the building before forcing their way inside by breaking windows and assaulting members of the U.S. Capitol Police.
At this time, members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, including Vice President Mike Pence, were evacuated from the chambers of Congress.
During the protest, in a video he allegedly posted to YouTube, Sullivan allegedly told the crowd “we about to burn this (expletive) down” and “we got to rip Trump out of office ... (expletive) pull him out of that (expletive) ... we ain’t waiting until the next election ... we about to go get that (expletive)” into a microphone, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Later in the footage, Sullivan is reportedly seen chanting, “It’s time for a revolution.”
During an interview with authorities on Jan. 7, Sullivan allegedly told officials he had attended the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” march in an effort to document the experience, calling himself an activist and journalist — despite not having any press credentials — and adding that he filmed protests and riots.
Previously, Sullivan was arrested by the Provo City Police Department on July 9 under the suspicion of third-degree felony rioting, class A misdemeanor criminal mischief and class B misdemeanor threat of violence. Charges were filed on July 13, and the case is currently pending.
Sullivan also allegedly told detectives he had entered the Capitol through a window that had been broken, following the crowd as he wore a ballistic vest and gas mask.
While inside the Capitol, Sullivan reportedly captured video of a woman — 35-year-old Air Force veteran Ashli E. Babbitt from San Diego, California — being shot and killed by law enforcement while attempting to enter the Speaker’s Lobby, and he later uploaded the footage to the internet.
Screenshots of the footage are included in the court documents.
Detectives reviewed the over-50-minute video, which shows the crowd bursting through the barricade and entering the Capitol. Several times throughout the video, Sullivan can allegedly be heard yelling into the crowd.
“There are so many people here,” he can be heard saying at one point. “Let’s go. This (expletive) is ours. (Expletive) yeah.”
“Let’s burn this (expletive) down,” he said during another portion of the video.
Additionally, Sullivan encountered officers at least two times, arguing with authorities as they attempted to prevent demonstrators from continuing throughout the building. At one point, Sullivan can be heard telling the officers to “stand down so that they do not get hurt,” according to court documents.
“There are too many people, you gotta stand down,” he can be heard telling officers. “The people out there that tried to do that (expletive), they got hurt, I saw it, I’m caring about you.’”
Video footage also allegedly shows Sullivan breaking a window — saying, “I broke it” and adding “I didn’t know I hit it that hard” — and telling other demonstrators that he has a knife.
Sullivan participated in another interview with authorities on Jan. 11 where he also allegedly confirmed the accounts of the video.
Following the review of the video footage Sullivan provided as well as the interviews with police, authorities drafted an arrest warrant, which was signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather on Jan. 13.
Sullivan’s previous charges stemmed from his alleged involvement in the unlawful June 30 protest in Utah County where two men brandished firearms, demonstrators blocked traffic and a driver was shot.
Sullivan and his organization, Insurgence USA, were allegedly organizers of the event and promoted the event online, making social media posts that advocated for other protesters to join, according to arrest documents.
During the Provo protest, Sullivan filmed the evening’s events and broadcasted footage live to Facebook. According to the probable cause statement filed in support of his arrest in July, officials heard Sullivan inviting viewers to join the demonstration as well as engaging in acts of criminal mischief by allegedly making threats of violence.
Another video allegedly showed Sullivan making verbal threats toward a female driver, saying “I’ll beat your (expletive), (expletive).”
When the driver continued to attempt to drive through the crowd, the video reportedly shows Sullivan kicking the driver’s side door of the vehicle causing a large dent on the exterior of the door. While kicking the door, the video also allegedly shows Sullivan yelling “will (expletive) your head up” to the driver.