Florida man charged with assaulting DC police officer with skateboard during Capitol riot

A 21-year-old man from Winter Park, Florida, was indicted by a federal grand jury for assaulting a D.C. police officer with his skateboard during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday.

Grady Douglas Owens was arrested on April 1 in Florida pursuant to a complaint relating to his alleged role in the riot.

A grand jury returned an indictment charging Owens with assaulting an officer; knowingly entering restricted grounds without authority; obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder; and violent entry and conduct on Capitol grounds.

According to a statement of facts released by the Justice Department, Owens allegedly struck Officer Christopher Boyle, who was responding to the riot, in the head with a skateboard. There is body camera footage that appears to show Owens using the skateboard to strike Boyle.

Boyle suffered a concussion and an injury to his finger.

In the process of tracking Owens down, the FBI obtained a higher resolution picture of Owens through the Twitter account @SeditionHunters — which posts pictures captured at the Capitol riot in an effort to identify those involved — and ran an image search, which led them to an Instagram account allegedly run by Owens.

From there, they were able to find a picture of Owens wearing a stocking cap similar to the one he was allegedly wearing at the riot.

Documents go on to say that investigators were able to run a search of vehicles registered to Owens, and found a 2002 Toyota Sequoia with Texas registration plates registered to a Grady Owens and another person. Further investigation found that the other person was also the registered owner of a Honda Element with Texas plates.

The Element was picked up on license plate readers at an apartment complex in Winter Park and at the parking lot of Full Sail University.

Investigators showed a witness associated with Full Sail University pictures from Owens’ Instagram page with all names and identification removed, and the witness identified the person as Owens. The process was then repeated with the suspect photos taken from the riot, and once again, the witness identified the person as Owens.

Investigators then learned that Owens and the owner of the Honda Element had flown into Dulles International Airport from San Antonio on Jan. 5, and took a return flight out of Reagan National Airport Jan. 7.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. and the Justice Department’s National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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