A firefighter in Florida has been charged with taking part in last week’s rioting at the Capitol.© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Police tape blocks the crime scene where thousands of pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to enter the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, January 12, 2021 in Washington, DC
According to the Sanford Fire Department, Andrew Williams was arrested on suspicion of unlawful entry of a restricted building and one count of disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds following the deadly pro-Donald Trump riot on January 6 in an alleged attempt to overthrow the government.
Images were shared on social media that appeared to show Williams, who also works as a paramedic, pointing to a sign bearing the name of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi while a mob roamed the halls of Congress.
William was released from custody on Tuesday. Following an appearance at a federal court, Williams’ attorney Vincent Citro denied his client played a part in any insurrection attempt and blamed the violence on Trump.
“The president and the capitol police encouraged despicable behavior, Mr. Williams took part in none of it,” Citro said.
The Sanford Fire Department confirmed last week that Williams had been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the firefighter’s apparent involvement in the storming on the Capitol.
The department has said that Williams has is now on leave without pay pending the conclusion of the FBI investigation.
A viewer sent us this photo of Andy Williams, a Sanford Firefighter, among the crowd of people who stormed the Capitol yesterday. A spokesperson for the fire department says an administrative investigation into the incident is being conducted. @MyNews13 #news13seminole pic.twitter.com/pJ6iYJgYDf— Rebecca Turco (@RebeccaTurcoTV) January 7, 2021
Sanford Fire Chief Craig Radzak said in a statement: “We hold the men and women in this department to the highest standards.
“It saddens me that the actions of one individual have tarnished the hard work and dedication that the rest of the department puts forth on a daily basis.
“As is policy with any type of policy violation, including a criminal violation, an internal administrative process must be followed in order to ensure a thorough investigation with a just conclusion. I ask for the public’s patience as we move through this process.”
“The City of Sanford is aware of the situation involving Sanford Firefighter/Paramedic Andrew Williams,” Sanford Mayor Art Woodruff said last week.
“At this time, we are following the investigative process. The administrative investigation will look into all aspects of the nature of the photograph and will address any City policy and/or law violations that could possibly arise throughout the investigation.
The FBI in Tampa has been contacted for comment.
Williams is one of a number of people identified and facing criminal charges in connection to the January 6 attempted coup, including allegedly some off-duty law enforcement officers.
Giving an update on Tuesday, FBI Washington Field Office Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono said that the 170 cases now under investigation are “just the tip of the iceberg.”