A Mercer County woman being sought by police for her involvement in the U.S. Capitol riot last month has been taken into custody.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that Rachel Marie Powell, 40, of Sandy Lake, was arrested Thursday night in New Castle. She is charged with obstruction, depredation of government property, being in a restricted building with a dangerous weapon and violent entry or disorderly conduct.
Video footage captured Jan. 6 at the Capitol showed a woman wearing a pink hat and black jacket with a fur-lined hood. She used a bullhorn “to instruct others how to further gain control of the Capitol,” according to a criminal complaint filed against her Friday in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh.
The complaint said the video showed a group of people talking about how to penetrate the Capitol.
“One individual is heard asking, ‘What’s the floor plan?’ Another man with a helmet is heard shouting, ‘We just need a plan. We need enough people. We need to push forward,’ ” the complaint said.
A short time later, the complaint said, Powell is seen speaking in the bullhorn and giving detailed instructions about the layout of the building. She told the crowd “they should ‘coordinate together if you are going to take this building,’ ” and that they had another window to break, the complaint said.
Investigators said video and photographs also showed Powell using a large pipe “as a ramming device to breach windows” of the Capitol.
The complaint said video footage showed Powell entering the Capitol through the West Lower Terrace Exterior Door at 2:41 p.m. and the large crowd forced law enforcement officers there to retreat toward the inside of the building.
After releasing a poster Jan. 16 seeking the identity of the woman wearing the pink hat and black jacket, the complaint said, the FBI received an anonymous tip that included her Facebook account, which linked back to her telephone number.
On Tuesday, The New Yorker published “A Pennsylvania Mother’s Path to Insurrection,” in which Powell admitted her involvement in the Capitol riot. According to the article by Ronan Farrow, she said, “Listen, if somebody doesn’t help and direct people, then do more people die?”
In the New Yorker article, Powell’s mother was quoted as saying the family is “just devastated.“
Powell, a mother of eight children, previously protested the governor’s shutdown and masking orders stemming from the covid-19 pandemic.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a request for detention against Powell, alleging she is both a danger to the community and a flight risk.
Powell is the fifth person to be charged in the Capitol attacks in federal court in Pittsburgh.
Unless the defendants plead guilty, their cases will be heard in Washington, D.C.
Paula Reed Ward is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paula by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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