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500 arrested in Jan. 6 Capitol riot, including first charged with assault on media member, Garland announces

A supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump sprays smoke during a "Stop the Steal" protest outside of the Capitol building in Washington D.C. U.S. January 6, 2021. Picture taken January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith (Stephanie Keith/Reuters)

The Justice Department on Thursday arrested the first defendant in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots to face charges including assaulting a journalist, as the total number of people arrested topped 500, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced.

Garland praised prosecutors, agents and the public’s assistance for reaching the benchmarks, adding, “I assure the American people that the Department of Justice will continue to follow the facts in this case and charge what the evidence supports to hold all January 6th perpetrators accountable.”

The department announced the arrest of Shane Jason Woods, 43, of Auburn, Ill., who was allegedly recorded tripping and pushing to the ground a police officer who had been sprayed with bear spray. Woods later entered a media staging area, threw equipment and tackled a cameraman, prosecutors alleged.

Woods was scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court in the central district of Illinois on Wednesday afternoon on eight criminal counts including assault, assault on a law enforcement officer and impeding police in a civil disorder. Information about his attorney was not immediately available.

Prosecutors in January announced they were investigating threats, targeting and assaults aimed at several members of the media, including several against reporters and photojournalists as tracked by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a coalition of free-speech, news media and journalist advocacy groups.