No longer smiling: Florida man carrying lectern at U.S. Capitol riot arrested

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PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida man seen carrying a lectern through the U.S. Capitol during a riot Wednesday has been arrested, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office inmate search.

The man smiling and waving at the camera was identified as 36-year-old Adam Johnson of Parrish in Manatee County near Tampa. WFLA learned Johnson is married to a physician and is a father of five.

The arrest report says Johnson was booked in the Pinellas County Jail around 9 p.m. Friday. He remains there on a US Marshal warrant.

The Getty photograph from Wednesday shows Johnson in a red, white, and blue Trump beanie carrying what is believed to be the lectern of the U.S. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

Johnson is a registered voter in Manatee County with no party affiliation. The supervisor of elections in Manatee County says Johnson voted in two general elections — 2004 and 2020.

No one answered the door when WFLA stopped by his home Friday. In the early afternoon, two men put on face masks before knocking and entering Johnson’s house.

Allan Mestel is acquaintances with Johnson and notified the FBI after recognizing Johnson in the photo.

“I felt a little disassociated for a minute. It was almost like, it was surreal. I mean it was surreal. I wasn’t surprised, but I was shocked. Mestel adding. “Couldn’t believe it, the fact that I recognize somebody from our hometown, was, I was floored.”

WFLA spoke with a criminal law expert about the charges someone who charged the Capitol could be facing.

“These are burglars, they are insurrectionists, they have committed thefts and armed offenses, threatened congress members, they are looking at the type of charges that could get them decades if not the remainder of their life in prison,” said Jeffrey Swartz.

On Thursday, the FBI appealed for information from the public to help them identify more protesters who engaged in the rioting.

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