A Black man was arrested by federal law enforcement and charged for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots in what may be the first non-white person being held accountable for the violent insurrection that left five people dead.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Uliyahu Hayah was arrested on Aug. 26 specifically for allegedly assaulting an officer with the Capitol Police Department. Much like the parade of hundreds of other accused Capitol rioters, Hayah was first spotted on video surveillance footage from inside and around the Capitol before he was ultimately identified, arrested and charged.
Hayah, 45, appeared in court last Friday but his case was scheduled to be continued on Sept. 10. Until then, he remains in custody.
The DOJ said that it has video footage showing Hayah entering the Capitol wearing a gas mask and carrying an American flag before he made his way from the Senate wing toward the House of Representatives Chamber and near the the Speaker’s Lobby around the time rioter Ashlii Babbitt was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer.
What happened next is specifically what Hayah was arrested and charged with.
“Hayah joined a physical confrontation as law enforcement tried to escort rioters out of the building,” the DOJ’s press release said. “As alleged, he put his hands on a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer and pushed the officer approximately 10 feet into the crowd.”
It was unclear if the officer was injured, but it is a felony to assault an officer of the law.
“Hayah was captured on video entering the U.S. Capitol through the Senate wing wearing a camouflage backpack, a black head covering and a gas mask while carrying an American flag,” the DOJ said while announcing the arrest in a press release.
According to a copy of the DOJ’s criminal complaint, Hayah — who has several aliases, including Uliyahu Ben’Arie Hayah, Wiyaha B Hayah, Uliyahu Benarie Hayah, Lemon Raetheon Williams, and Le Mon Williams — was charged with assaulting, resisting, or imeding certain officers or employees; civil disorder; one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; engaging physical violence in restricted building or on restricted grounds; violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; engaging in an act of physical; violence in the grounds or any Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in any of the Capitol buildings.
On top of that, Hayah was already on parole when he participated in the Capitol riots. His arrest and criminal indictment from federal authorities almost assuredly violated the terms of his parole.
The criminal complaint says the FBI was tipped off about Hayah from the Sedition Hunters organization that found video and other evidence he took a train from Baltimore to participate in the Capitol riots and admitted his participation.
The DOJ identified Hayah as being a resident of Maryland, but the criminal complaint also found that he was under the paroled supervision of the Virginia Department of Ciorrections in Fairfax County for a prior criminal conviction in Maryland’s Prince George’s County. The complaint says Hayah parole officer also helped identify him to authorities.
The Feds were also able to trace Hayah’s cellphone to the Capitol on Jan. 6 and the criminal complaint included frame-by-frame screenshots from surveillance cameras showing him.
The Inner City Press, which covers legal proceedings around the country, reported that a police report from a prior arrest indicated that Hayah identifies as “Black-Non-Hispanic.”
Hayah was referred to as a “raging Muslim” in the headline of a news article from 2017 about his road rage arrest stemming from an accusation that he aimed a gun at a driver on I-95 in Prince George’s County. In that instance, responding officers found that he had multiple guns in his vehicle. He was ultimately arrested and charged with the use of a firearm in a felony, possession of an assault weapon, illegal possession of handgun in a vehicle, illegal possession of a handgun, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.
A LinkedIn page credited to Uliyahu Hayah has a photo that looks like the FBI’s suspect and says he is a licensed barber in Virginia.
It would appear that Halah is the first, or definitely among the very first Black person to be arrested and charged for an alleged role in the Capitol riots.
Ali Alexander, widely credit as a “Stop the Steal” organizer, is Black, but he appeared to be solely involved with planning and did not actively take part in the insurrection. It is unclear if he can face charges.
There was at least one other unauthorized Black person in the Capitol who helped disrupt Congress certifying Joe Biden’s presidential election — as evidenced by a viral photo — but it is unclear what ever happened to him.
However, he — and anyone else who broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6 — should know that the FBI and DOJ are still actively seeking out other people like Hayah. In fact, Hayah is among the 570 people who have been arrested for participating in the Capitol riots. That includes more than 170 people who have been charged with assaulting a police officer or impeding law enforcement.
This is America.