Man accused of spraying chemical irritant on 6 January was able to join Fort Bragg in May
An accused Capitol rioter who was accused of spraying law enforcement with a chemical irritant on 6 January was allowed to enrol in the US Army months after, a report alleges.
James Phillip Mault, 29, was taken into custody last week at Fort Bragg, a military installation in North Carolina, having been with the US Army for five months.
De acordo com The Washington Post, he was assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division and his connection to January’s riot only recently came to light within the army.
Lt Col Uriah Orland, a Pentagon spokesman, told the paper it was unclear when exactly the army became aware of Mr Mault’s background, but that it “was flagged by our investigators”.
An initial background check failed to pick-up charges for use of a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct in connection to the Capitol riot, in addition to civil disorder, foi relatado.
Mr Mault told FBI investigators in January that he was involved in the riot but denied being inside the building.
He was also allegedly seen in footage spraying a chemical irritant at law enforcement, as well as handing the spray to other accused rioters.
It was also alleged that he helped a man who had been exposed to irritants by washing his face with water.
Mr Mault is among six known members of the US military who have been arrested while serving. The others are a Marine Corps officer and two part-time soldiers in the Army Reserve and two in the National Guard, The Post relatado.
Em abril, US defence secretary Lloyd Austin was forced to introduce changes to how the military performs background checks amid concerns that some members of law enforcement were involved in the January riot.
Em um comunicado, the Army told O Independente that enlistees are checked for criminal history and a collection of fingerprints are submitted to the FBI.
“The Army was unaware of any involvement Spc Mault may have had in the incidents on January 6 or of any information disqualifying him at the time of his enlistment,” said an Army spokesman.
“The Army will continue to work with the FBI and other entities with inputs into the pre-screening process to obtain relevant information to inform Army enlistment decisions.”
Additional reporting by The Washington Post.