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Man arrested on Capitol riot charges after prison sentence for Charlottesville white nationalist march

White Supremacists March with Torches in Charlottesville
Posted at 5:37 PM, Jul 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-18 17:37:18-04

A man who served a prison term for joining torch-toting white nationalists in marching through the University of Virginia's campus in 2017 rally has been arrested on charges that he stormed the U.S. Capitol and attacked police officers.

Tyler Bradley Dykes, 25, of Bluffton, South Carolina, was arrested in Charlottesville, Virginia, and made his initial court appearance on Monday, according to court records. A federal judge ordered Dykes held in custody until a detention hearing on Wednesday.

Videos captured Dykes tearing down police barriers, attacking officers outside the Capitol and stealing a riot shield during a mob's attack on Jan. 6, 2021, an FBI affidavit says.

Dykes previously was charged in a Virginia state court with illegally participating in the August 2017 march on the night before the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. Far-right extremists clashed with counterprotesters on the streets of Charlottesville before an Ohio man linked to a white supremacist group plowed his car into a crowd, killing 32-year-old civil rights activist Heather Heyer.

Heather Heyer
FILE - This photo from Wednesday Aug. 16, 201, shows a photo of Heather Heyer, who was killed during a white nationalist rally, surrounded with flowers at a memorial paying tribute to her life at the Paramount Theater, Charlottesville, Va. In a nation founded on whiteness, experts share perspective on whether it can be discussed. If white people want the future to be different, said Rev. Susan Chorley, a Boston area pastor, they have to be willing to look at the past and the present. "I think it's on us," she said.

In May, Dykes pleaded guilty to a state felony charge of burning an object with the intent to intimidate and was sentenced to 5 years in prison, with 4 1/2 years suspended. He was given credit for time he served in South Carolina while awaiting extradition to Virginia and finished serving his state sentence on Monday.

An FBI task force officer met and interviewed Dykes around January 2019 “regarding his potential ties to domestic extremist groups,” the officer wrote in an affidavit for the Jan. 6 case. Dykes may still have ties to extremist groups such as the South Carolina-based “Southern Sons Active Club,” the federal agent said.

Active clubs are a network of white supremacists who “see themselves as fighters training for an ongoing war against a system that they claim is deliberately plotting against the white race,” according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Marchers and protesters clash at ‘Unite the Right’ torch rally at UVA
‘Unite the Right’ torch rally at UVA

In December 2021, the FBI received a tip from somebody who said Dykes had boasted about attacking officers at the Capitol. The tipster told the FBI that Dykes said he went there for “fun” and wanted to "make a statement.”

Dykes was wearing a gray gaitor over his face as he marched to the Capitol with two other people. Video shows him joining other rioters in tearing down barriers and attacking police officers on the east side of the Capitol, the FBI affidavit says.

Dykes stole a riot shield and raised it over his head before police deployed pepper spray toward him in an unsuccessful attempt to subdue him and regain control of their shield, according to the FBI. Dykes paraded around the interior of the Capitol building with the stolen shield, the FBI said.

The charges against Dykes include interfering with police during a civil disorder.

An attorney from the federal public defender's office was assigned to represent Dykes at his initial court appearance in Roanoke, Virginia. That lawyer said he can't comment on the charges.