Savannah-area activist charged in Jan. 6 riot after nearly two years

Defendant has been open about his participation in riot, appeared on HBO documentary about Capitol attack
Savannah-area activist Dominic Box is seen in the HBO documentary "Four Hours at the Capitol." Box was arrested Dec. 15, 2022, for his alleged participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot.

Credit: Jamie Roberts/AMOS Pictures

Credit: Jamie Roberts/AMOS Pictures

Savannah-area activist Dominic Box is seen in the HBO documentary "Four Hours at the Capitol." Box was arrested Dec. 15, 2022, for his alleged participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot.

A man who livestreamed his push inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and later gave an interview for an HBO documentary now faces federal charges nearly two years after the riot.

Dominic Box, a QAnon activist and election conspiracy theorist known for his activism in the Savannah area, made his initial court appearance on Thursday via teleconference in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., where he was charged with four misdemeanors related to his entry into the Capitol. Box currently lives in the Jacksonville area but works in Georgia.

Box’s Dec. 15 arrest, first reported by The Current, came 708 days after the Capitol riot and after federal investigators had arrested nearly 900 other defendants, many of whom were identified by online sleuths piecing together photos and social media posts to reveal accused rioters’ identities. Box provided no such challenge.

In court records supporting Box’s arrest, the FBI agent assigned to the case said Box’s participation was documented by “countless open source posts, photographs, and videos, including Box’s own Facebook livestreams of the events” which show him approaching the Capitol and his path inside.

“This is awesome!” Box said on his livestream video to the Facebook group Savannah Freedom Exchange as he marched with the crowd to the Capitol.

Savannah resident Dominic Box, right, is seen in a Facebook livestream he shot while marching on the Capitol Jan. 6, 2021.

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Later, while sitting for an interview for the HBO documentary “Four Hours at the Capitol,” Box showed off the red “Make America Great Again” hat he wore that day, which he said he would never wash despite being soaked with sweat and tear gas.

Footage in the documentary shows Box outside the Capitol’s west entrance shouting to the crowd to wet their bandanas to protect against tear gas.

“I was proud to see the American spirit that was on display,” he said in the documentary, which debuted in October 2021.

In the film, Box denied the riot was an insurrection and his comments severely downplayed the violence of the day.

“It did show very clearly for the world to see that there’s a large, large group of American citizens who value their vote, their voice and this country enough to walk up and knock on your door and walk through it,” he said.

In one of Box’s own videos shot inside the Capitol and later turned over to the FBI, he confronted a Capitol Police officer who was urging the crowd on Jan. 6 to be calm.

“We don’t need any more violence right now, all right? Calm down. We can stand right here and talk it out, OK?” the officer said.

According to court documents, Box ran up to the officer and said, “There’s no talking, there’s no (expletive) talking.”

Security footage from the Capitol shows Box in several locations on the first floor. At one point, he left the building only to later re-enter it, according to court records.

After being inside the Capitol for almost an hour, Box left again. But when Capitol Police attempted to close the door behind him, investigators say Box urged the crowd forward and helped them reopen it, then entered the Capitol a third time.

As a condition of bond, Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya said Thursday she’s requiring that Box abstain from excessive use of alcohol and from all non-prescription drugs.

Box’s attorney, John Machado, questioned the restrictions, saying the alcohol restriction was too broad. He also asked if Box could continue using Delta 8, which is a synthesized drug derived from hemp and is legal in Georgia.

Upadhyaya clarified that Box could not drink to intoxication and denied his request to continue using Delta 8 unless prescribed by a doctor. She also agreed to the government’s request that Box enroll in counseling after prosecutors detailed Box’s past problems with drugs and alcohol, including DUI and public intoxication arrests a decade ago.

If convicted of the charges, Box could spend up to a year in federal prison.

Box lost his job with a Savannah-area car dealer within days of the riot, but he has continued to express his views on the 2020 election and other conspiracy theories on social media.

He is the 23rd defendant with Georgia ties to be charged in the Capitol riot, but while all held strong views about former President Trump and the 2020 election, few had such a well-documented history of prior extremist activism.

In August 2020, Box organized a so-called “Save the Children” rally in Savannah that expressed some of the central tenets of the wide-ranging QAnon conspiracy theory. Congressman Buddy Carter attended the rally but later claimed he was unaware of its ties to QAnon.

In a 2018 Facebook Live interview, Box talked about his interest in conspiracy theories ranging from alien visitation to the assassination of President Kennedy to debunked allegations that the Sept. 11 bombing of the World Trade Center was an inside job.

He also has a prior criminal conviction, which would factor into sentencing is Box pleads guilty or is convicted of the Jan. 6 charges.

In 2015, while living in Joplin, Mo., Box was charged with felony assault stemming from an argument with his roommate at the time. He pleaded to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to a year in jail, which was converted to two years of unsupervised probation.

Box is the first Georgian arrested in the sweeping Jan. 6 investigation since March, but arrests in general have continued at a steady pace. Box was among four Jan. 6 defendants to have an initial appearance before Judge Upadhyaya Thursday afternoon.