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caption: Federal prosecutors say this image shows Ethan Nordean in a crowd of Proud Boys who participated in storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
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Federal prosecutors say this image shows Ethan Nordean in a crowd of Proud Boys who participated in storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Credit: Image from charging documents

Alleged Seattle Proud Boy charged with storming of U.S. Capitol

A Washington state man appeared in federal court in Seattle on Wednesday, charged with helping storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Prosecutors say he’s a local member of the far-right extremist group the Proud Boys.

Charging documents contain numerous photos of a man prosecutors say is Ethan Nordean, also known as Rufio Panman, carrying a megaphone as part of the crowd rushing into the U.S. Capitol. They say Nordean calls himself the "sergeant of arms" for the Seattle chapter of the Proud Boys. The AP reports that Nordean is at least the eighth member of the group to be charged by the Justice Department in connection with the siege.

Nordean faces four federal counts including obstruction of an official proceeding: the certification of the Electoral College votes. That charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Other charges include aiding and abetting individuals who “removed barricades and broke windows to storm the Capitol building,” knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

An FBI affidavit in support of the complaint states, “Photographs and digital videos taken on January 6, 2021, show that Nordean was among those who entered the U.S. Capitol building after rioters forced entry and pushed past Capitol Police officers. Photographs and video also show that Nordean was near the front of the crowd of rioters, who collectively approached, stood off against, and vastly outnumbered Capitol Police.”

caption: Ethan Nordean (right) at the University of Washington in 2018 during an event featuring right-wing activist Charlie Kirk.
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Ethan Nordean (right) at the University of Washington in 2018 during an event featuring right-wing activist Charlie Kirk.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Casey Martin

It claimed that Nordean, under the name Rufio Panman, put out a fundraising appeal on the social media site Parler for “protective gear” and communications equipment on Dec. 27. It added that on Jan. 4 he posted a video captioned, “Let them remember the day they decided to make war with us.”

The affidavit also alleged that on Jan. 8, 2021, two days after the events at the Capitol, Nordean posted a photo on Parler of a police officer pepper-spraying someone during the Capitol siege. The caption stated, “If you feel bad for the police, you are part of the problem. They care more about federal property (our property) than protecting and serving the people.”

Nordean made his first appearance in U.S District Court in Seattle on Wednesday. A judge advised Nordean that if the case goes forward, he will eventually face trial in Washington D.C. The judge ordered that Nordean be held until Monday morning when the court will consider his detention and the status of his case. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia as well as the Justice Department's Counterterrorism Section.

Mike Nordean is Ethan Nordean’s father and the owner of Wally’s Chowder House in Des Moines, WA. A statement posted to the restaurant's website states, “My son, Ethan, was arrested on February 3rd for his involvement in the Capitol siege. We have tried for a long while to get our son off the path which led to his arrest today - to no avail. Ethan will be held accountable for his actions.”

The statement continued, “I want to thank our customers for their continued grace and support. We appreciate it more than you know. I also want to thank all of the employees of Wally's Restaurants for the care and respect they give our customers - and each other.”

Another Seattle man faces felony charges for allegedly punching a police officer as part of the siege on the Capitol. Five Seattle police officers are under investigation for attending the rally in support of former President Donald Trump on Jan. 6; it's not known whether any of them participated in the riot in the Capitol building.