WASHINGTON — A Rhode Island man was arrested today on felony and misdemeanor charges for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Bernard Joseph Sirr, 47, of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, is charged in a criminal complaint filed in the District of Columbia with civil disorder, a felony, and related misdemeanor offenses. He was arrested in North Kingstown. He is expected to make his initial court appearance later today in the District of Rhode Island.
According to court documents, on Jan. 6, Sirr was among rioters who illegally entered the Capitol grounds. He joined a line of rioters that was engaged in a confrontation with law enforcement officers in the tunnel area of the Lower West Terrace. At approximately 3:08 p.m., video shows Sirr entering the tunnel. During a video taken inside the tunnel, Sirr is at the front of the police line pushing against rioters who are assaulting officers. He is seen pushing against the police line with his hand pressed against a police shield. He also participated in a struggle in which a group of rioters chanted “Heave! Ho!” in unison as they moved together as a team against the officer.
Sirr exited the tunnel at approximately 3:14 p.m. About an hour later, however, he reappeared at the Lower West Terrace doorway, pushing other rioters who were pushing against police officers. Sirr ultimately was ejected from the tunnel area.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Boston Field Office and its Providence Resident Agency. Valuable assistance was provided by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified Sirr as #249 on its seeking information photos, the U.S. Capitol Police, and the Metropolitan Police Department.
In the 17 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 800 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 250 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.
A complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.