Jeffrey McKellop, a man identified as a longtime Army Special Forces soldier and now a current military contractor has now been charged for assaulting four police officers on duty at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, including spearing one in the face with a flagpole. Jeffrey McKellop’s actions caused a laceration to an officer’s face.
McKellop was arrested on Wednesday, March 17.
He can be seen in videos and pictures, as well as in footage from police-worn body cameras. He was present among the earliest waves of rioters who came to confront police at the Capitol that day.
McKellop is seen picking up “a flagpole from the ground” and “shov[ing] it into the face” of a DC police officer before throwing the flagpole at another officer, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday.
In some pictures, McKellop is seen carrying a flagpole that has at least two different flags attached: a Blue Line National Flag and a 13-star Betsy Ross flag with the phrase “Trump. Keep America Great” printed on it.
The FBI said that he put on a gas mask as he approached the police line and then tried to wrestle a canister of pepper spray from an officer who was using it for crowd control. That afternoon, he finally breached the police line and engaged in a scuffle with multiple officers.
One of the two FBI witnesses claimed to have served with McKellop from 2001 to 2016. Both witnesses indicated that McKellop has since left the service and has become a contractor and at times works overseas.
One of the witnesses stated that the helmet and ballistic vest McKellop was wearing is similar to the gear he wore overseas as a soldier.
Though dozens of former servicemembers and police officers have been charged with crimes connected to the Capitol incident, McKellop appears to be the first Special Forces member accused of crimes related to the breaching of the Capitol.
And among the 300-plus cases filed by federal prosecutors, his charges are among the gravest.
“During this confrontation, as MPD Officer 4 positions himself with the riot control spray aimed toward McKellop and the crowd, McKellop picks up a flagpole from the ground and shoves it into the face of MPD Officer 4,” according to the FBI case. “McKellop then throws the flagpole, similar in fashion to throwing a spear, at MPD Officer 4. McKellop’s actions caused a laceration to MPD Officer 4’s face.”
Secretary of Defense Austin recently told CBS’s 60 Minutes that the growing number of Capitol cases featuring former military members has underscored the need to root out extremism among the ranks.
“I think the numbers will probably be a bit larger than we would believe,” he said. “But I can tell you that a small number of people can have an outsized effect.”
Next week, an Army reservist working at a New Jersey-based naval weapons facility is expected to be arraigned on charges that he participated in the Capitol siege. As part of the investigation, the Navy interviewed 44 of his colleagues and learned that he was widely viewed as a white supremacist and often made disparaging comments about Jews. He even sported a Hitler-style mustache to work, they said.