When a group of men who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 pushed a New York Times photographer to the ground and ran away with her camera as she cried for help, Sandy Pomeroy Weyer stood still while she broadcast the assault and theft on Facebook live, prosecutors said.
Moments later, when the photographer, who is not identified in court records, got up and chased after the men to retrieve her equipment, Pomeroy Weyer kept recording with her cellphone, according to surveillance video obtained by prosecutors.
Pomeroy Weyer yelled at the photographer to get out, according to court records, then said, “Get her out, mace her,” as the men pushed the woman back and fled the scene.
Now, Pomeroy Weyer faces multiple charges over her alleged participation in the deadly riot, according to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington and unsealed Monday.
Pomeroy Weyer did not immediately respond to messages by The Washington Post by early Tuesday. Information about her attorney was not immediately available.
The Mechanicsburg, Pa., woman is among hundreds now charged in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection. But her criminal complaint is also one of the first to reference the attacks and threats against journalists who were present to cover the events that day, some of whom had equipment stolen or broken. Last week, Shane Jason Woods, 43, of Auburn, Ill., became the first defendant in the Jan. 6 riot to face charges including assaulting a journalist, The Post’s Spencer S. Hsu reported. Woods is accused of entering a media staging area, throwing equipment and tackling a cameraman.
The Times photojournalist Pomeroy Weyer allegedly recorded being attacked was Erin Schaff, Danielle Rhoades Ha, vice president of communications for the paper, confirmed Tuesday morning. Schaff declined to comment for this article.
Less than a week after Schaff was assaulted, court records state, the journalist recounted what happened in an interview with FBI agents.
Around 2:40 p.m. on Jan. 6, as she walked near the entrance of the Capitol rotunda documenting the events, a group of four or five men approached her, she told law enforcement. Then, one of the men asked her, “Who do you shoot for?”
When the woman did not answer, one of the men reached into her vest and took her press credentials identifying her as a Times staffer. That’s when the men became angry and pushed her to the ground, court documents state.
According to the complaint, Pomeroy Weyer, who was standing on a set of stairs observing the incident, walked up to the men attacking Schaff to record them on her phone before the men fled with the photographer’s camera.
“We are pleased that the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office continue to pursue the people who committed this crime,” Rhoades Ha told The Post in an email. “We hope there will be an arrest soon.”
Pomeroy Weyer, who sported a red sweatshirt reading “Trump 2020” and a loose ponytail, recorded Schaff being knocked to the ground, prosecutors said, and also allegedly continued filming as the photographer chased the men down the stairs yelling, “Give me back my camera, that’s my livelihood,” before she was pushed to the ground a second time.
Pomeroy Weyer allegedly yelled at the photographer to leave as she recorded, calling her a “traitor.”
Once outside the Capitol following the photojournalist’s assault, Pomeroy Weyer continued her live-stream and appeared to respond to the comments on the feed, prosecutors said.
“The woman who was screaming in the Capitol was, um, anti-Trump, let’s put it that way, that’s why they removed her,” she said.
A person who is not named in the complaint later provided a tip to the FBI by sharing a picture of Pomeroy Weyer outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, court documents show. Pomeroy Weyer allegedly asked her social media followers whether “anyone [knows] how to recover live video feed that Facebook removed?” (The agency said they later confirmed the account belonged to Pomeroy Weyer. Phone data corroborated Pomeroy Weyer was inside the Capitol at the time of the incident, prosecutors also said.)
A Facebook search warrant authorized by a magistrate D.C. judge found several posts in which Pomeroy Weyer expressed that she was present at the Capitol on Jan. 6, along with lengthy live-streamed videos she took that day, court records state.
In one post, Pomeroy Weyer responded to another user’s comment saying: “I seen no riots. I saw Patriots sick of being lied to and the election being stolen from us! I saw no violence from the Patriots!”
“I did what needed to be done!” Pomeroy Weyer replied to another commenter. “I am happy.”
On Monday, authorities arrested Pomeroy Weyer, who is charged with “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so, with intent to engage in disorderly or disruptive conduct.” She also faces charges tied to exhibiting disorderly behavior and attempting to impede official government proceedings.
It is unclear whether Pomeroy Weyer remained in custody as of early Tuesday. She is due in court on Thursday for her first appearance in front of a judge, court records state.