Authorities have confirmed that the man photographed wearing the Nazi supporting anti-Semitic sweatshirt reading “Camp Auschwitz” during the Capitol riots was arrested on Wednesday in Virginia. Auschwitz is the name of a Nazi concentration camp where more than 1 million people were murdered during the Holocaust. The racist identified as 56-year-old Robert Keith Packer was arrested in his hometown of Newport News. His sweatshirt also sported the phrase “work will set you free,” the English translation for the German phrase “Arbeit Macht Frei” found outside of Nazi concentration camps including Auschwitz.
Packer was arrested and charged for his “role in the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021,” the FBI confirmed to The Hill. According to an arrest warrant signed Tuesday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather in Washington, D.C., Packer was charged with two federal offenses including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and intentionally and unlawfully entering a restricted building. A Virginia resident who wished to stay anonymous told CNN that Packer was “always extreme and very vocal about his beliefs.” Additionally, court records indicate that Packer has a criminal history including being convicted for driving under the influence at least three times, CNN reported.
Images of Packer’s anti-Semitic sweatshirt quickly went viral on social media. His attire follows a trend present at violent Trump-supporting protests nationwide and is one of the numerous anti-Semitic symbols and messages seen during the Capitol riots, according to The Associated Press.
According to a criminal complaint written by FBI Special Agent Paul Fisher, a cooperating witness alerted the FBI that he recognized the individual wearing the sweatshirt in the media coverage of the Capitol riots as Packer, CBS News reported. Packer was allegedly a frequent customer at his store and he was able to provide the FBI a photo of Packer inside his store in which Packer was wearing the same sweatshirt on Dec. 11.
After comparing Packer’s driver’s license to the riot photos and security footage provided by the witness, the FBI was able to confirm Packer’s identity. After his arrest he was held at the Western Tidewater Regional Jail in Suffolk, CBS News affiliate WTKR-TV reported.
He then appeared virtually before a federal magistrate judge Wednesday. According to The Washington Post, a prosecutor during the federal court hearing said the government would not be seeking Parker’s detention.
In a clear example of white privilege, while Packer was not asked to enter a plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Miller, Miller said Packer would be released without bail on a personal recognizance bond.
His only conditions were that he stay out of Washington, D.C. for reasons other than to be in court for his case and attend his next court date set for Jan.19.
While he did not identify who would represent him in the case, during the hearing Packer noted that he intended to hire his own attorney.
More than 70 people are facing federal and local charges associated with the Capitol riots that took place on Jan. 6., Acting U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C. Michael Sherwin said in a Tuesday press conference. According to Sherwin, the FBI has opened investigations into at least 170 more individuals. Additionally, Rep. Jason Crow confirmed that law enforcement officials have opened at least 25 domestic terrorism cases. Social media and other footage shared from the riots is enabling investigators to identify suspects across the country for charges of unlawful entry, disorderly conduct, theft, assault, and weapons violations.
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