KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville man was arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges related to the January 6, 2021, Capitol breach, according to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Columbia.
Michael Tyler Roberts, 34, of Knoxville was arrested on Monday on charges of civil disorder (felony offense), entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building (misdemeanor offenses), the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Columbia. said.
The Criminal Complaint against Roberts said he was identified and reported as a possible rioter in April 2021. A witness whom FBI investigators spoke with said Roberts took last-minute vacation time from January 5-7, 2021. A second witness told investigators that Roberts made a comment while at work that his actions at the capitol on January 6, 2021, were a mistake.
Investigators showed both witnesses photos and asked them to review the photos, and they identified Roberts in the photographs, the complaint said.
The complaint also lists text message exchanges between Roberts and Ronald Colton McAbee, who the agent said was also arrested on August 17, 2021, on charges relating to the insurrection. The investigator wrote that the two traveled together from Tennessee to Washington D.C. and back between January 5 and 7, 2021.
In those messages, starting on December 31, 2021, Roberts allegedly sent a photo of brass knuckles and said he would be carrying them in his pocket, and instructed McAbee that he could get some on Amazon and have them shipped to an address, which was redacted.
The messages also discuss specific travel plans, when they will leave, and that they planned to wear black thermals and “maga gear.”
On January 10, Roberts allegedly sent McAbee a link to “Storming the Capitol – Street Interviews” on YouTube and told him to watch from the nine-minute mark. After McAbee responded to the message, Roberts said it was “just [him]” in the video, to which McAbee said he hoped the FBI didn’t come looking for Roberts.
Roberts went on to say that he wasn’t in the building, he was exercising his “1st amendment” and that Trump would be inaugurated.
The complaint states that when rioters began entering the tunnel where capitol police and Metropolitan Police Department officers, Roberts “[emerged] on top of other rioters at the mouth of the “Tunnel” in order to get closer to the police line. Roberts then allegedly began grappling with officers
In one of the pieces of video that investigators reviewed, the rioter that has was identified as Roberts was seen saying: “Our country is worth fighting for every day until this election is over and Donald J. Trump is put back in that White House, 100% and definitely . . . Man, this isn’t just a fight for Donald Trump. This is a fight of good versus evil, right versus wrong. I love my country. I had to tell my son before I left home ‘Listen, son, I’m doing this for you. Daddy may not come home.’ But that’s okay. I’ll stand in the gap so he doesn’t have to. So your kids don’t have to. I’ll take whatever comes.”
Since January 6, 2021, more than 1,100 individuals have been charged for crimes related to the U.S. Capitol breach, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Columbia said, and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with tips is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.