Study: Residents of at least 12 Pa. counties charged in Capitol siege

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
A Pro-Trump mob storms the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images/TNS)

No York County residents have been charged following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But residents of one Pennsylvania county make up one of the largest groups of alleged insurrectionists, says a study published this month by researchers at George Washington University.

Four residents of Berks County have been charged with various crimes related to the storming of Capitol Hill, which temporarily stalled Congress and resulted in five deaths. The total number of people charged from Berks County was tied for the most in the country, the study concluded.

Four residents of Los Angeles County, California, and Franklin County, Ohio, respectively, also have been charged.

Two people hailing from Lancaster County have been charged.

All told, residents from 12 Pennsylvania counties — including Lebanon, Lancaster and Dauphin counties — participated in the storming of the Capitol Hill building, according to a new report by George Washington University.

Proximity to Washington played a role in who participated in the Capitol Hill riot — including many south-central counties in Pennsylvania, researchers said.

"It's a factor that some of the counties closer to D.C. produced more people," said Bennett Clifford, one of seven authors of the report. "Most of York County's immediate neighbors have produced cases."

Protesters supporting U.S. President Donald Trump break into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)

More:Capitol security leaders blame missed intelligence for failures on Jan. 6

Pennsylvania joined Texas, Florida and New York as the state from which most of the participants in the insurrection hailed, researchers said.

At least 40 states had at least one resident at the siege, which followed a monthslong effort by then-President Donald Trump to undermine his election loss in November to President Joe Biden. 

Earlier this year, the House impeached Trump — the second of his term — on a charge that he incited the siege. Trump was acquitted in the Senate. 

"Across the board, there's a wide range of different areas that are represented in the Capitol siege," Clifford said. "What that highlights is that it's really hard to make a generalization about what makes these counties more likely to produce people who went to the Capitol."

The preliminary study focused on demographics of individuals who participated and how far they traveled. Further studies are in development as more information about who participated is made public.

Out of 257 identified participants, about 35 self-identified as being part of militant networks — individuals who planned the siege in conjunction with networks of established, violent extremist organizations, Clifford said.

Additionally, about 80 participants were grouped into "organized clusters" of small groups of friends and family, and 142 people were classified as "inspired believers," or individuals who did not have any formal connection to a group or other pro-Trump rioters.

G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, noted that many of the participating counties are "Trump's country."

"The Trump supporters are very invigored in this state," Madonna said. "Trump still has a strong base."

In February, an officer with Southern Regional Police was under investigation for  playing a part in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Later, however, the officer was cleared.

 "What is really more interesting across the board, we have individuals that went from over 40 states. They're all from different counties," Clifford said. "A case from any county wouldn't surprise me."

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.