Georgia couple arrested in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Credit: Chris Joyner

Credit: Chris Joyner

Georgia Bulldogs fans held hands, fought back tear gas in Capitol riot, feds say.

More than a year later, a Middle Georgia couple has been arrested for their alleged role in the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot.

Charles Hand III and Mandy Robinson Hand, both of Butler, were arrested by FBI agents Friday after a combination of tips, surveillance and documentary footage, Facebook posts, and electronic signatures from their mobile phones led them to the Taylor County couple. They each are charged with four misdemeanors, including entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct and unlawful demonstrating at the Capitol.

According to court records, the Hands were captured on closed-circuit cameras inside several areas of the U.S. Capitol during the riot, with Charles Hand identified, in part, by his bright red University of Georgia cap. An anonymous witness identified the couple from still images taken from the cameras, and investigators used records obtained from Google to confirm the Hands’ mobile phones were in and around the Capitol for more than four hours the day of the riot, court records state.

The Hands are the 20th and 21st people with Georgia ties to be arrested in the massive U.S. Capitol riot investigation. So far, more than 775 people have been arrested across the nation in the 14 months since a pro-Trump mob attempted to disrupt the counting of electoral college votes certifying the victory for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris by members of Congress.

The Taylor County couple came to Washington to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally at the Ellipse and hear former President Donald Trump speak, although Charles Hand noted in a Facebook post, “I had heard this same speech from him over the course of the last 2 months.”

In the post included in court records, Charles Hand made it clear why he marched on the Capitol.

“I decided to beat the crowd, left like 10 mins before the President was done speaking and headed toward my next destination: the nations (sic) Capitol to protest the certification of a Biden/Harris victory in the 2020 presidential election,” he wrote, according to the court record.

In the post, Hand described the scene at the Capitol at “strange and chaotic” and suggested that antifa members dressed in tactical gear were behind the violence against police. Despite persistent online rumors and comments from some politicians, law enforcement has no evidence that people associated with antifa were involved in perpetrating the attack. However, members of the Oath Keeper militia and others did come to the Capitol wearing paramilitary and tactical gear.

According to an FBI affidavit, a tipster provided other Facebook posts from Charles Hand written during the riot itself. “We’re in the capital (sic). Taking our house back,” Hand allegedly wrote. “We’ve Been tear gassed etc.”

Credit: Chris Joyner

Credit: Chris Joyner

Still images show the couple at various points the Capitol holding hands, which may have been fortuitous for Charles Hand.

“At one point, law enforcement was observed in a physical altercation with unknown persons,” the arresting agent wrote in the affidavit. “Hand appeared to try to advance towards the scuffle as Robinson-Hand restrained him.”

Defendants accused of getting in physical confrontations with police during the riot have been charged with felonies that carry potentially long prison sentences.