KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — On Jan. 6, Cliff Meteer joined thousands of others at the Capitol building to protest what he believed to be a stolen 2020 presidential election.
That protest resulted in damaged property, several injuries and even death, but Meteer’s account is much different from the events that played out on live television that day.
“Inside the Capitol building it was a peaceful process. I never saw anything that constituted any kind of riot,” Meteer said.
Video from that day shows people breaking windows, climbing up the walls of the building and pushing their way into the building.
“We weren’t being afforded our natural rights. We weren’t being afforded to present our case in front of a court of law or a jury of our peers to determine whether or not our suspicions were correct or wrong. You know, I mean, our rights were stolen from us,” Meteer said.
Tips from relatives and old friends on Facebook, eventually led FBI agents to the home he and his girlfriend share in North Knoxville.
“There was a bunch of just FBI guys and I’m looking around saying oh my God. This is all because he was in the Capitol on January 6?” Holly Houssner, Meteer’s girlfriend, said of the scene.
She and Meteer both believe since he was nonviolent, and his arrest was unnecessary.
“It was a protest and it got a little out of hand but to actually find all these people on Facebook or whatever to go and then come to your house and raid like I’m some kind of mass murderer or something? This is insanity,” Houssner said.
Meteer was arrested and released on his own recognizance. He waived all preliminary readings in federal court Tuesday in Knoxville. He is scheduled to appear Aug. 17 in federal court in Washington, D.C.
“I was there for myself and my own reasons. There was no coordination with anybody or anything. Just my obligation as an American citizen to protest what I see as a great wrong being done on the people of the United States,” Meteer said.
Meteer said he has no regrets from his actions that day.