FBI agents arrested a Rochester, Minn., woman early Thursday on charges connected to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building, the second Minnesotan and one of hundreds across the nation accused of participating in the illegal occupation.
Victoria White, 39, appeared before Minnesota U.S. District Magistrate Judge Becky Thorson on Thursday afternoon.
According to the Minnesota U.S. Attorney's Office, the charges against White include: entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building; impeding or attempting to impede law enforcement officers; and obstruction of justice/Congress.
On Jan. 10, four days after the riot, the FBI received a tip about comments White allegedly made on her Facebook page on her participation in the events under her name and the alias Janice Marie Evans. "A friend said Delete FB stuff," one post reads. "I stated I'm not scared i was in the capitol DETAINED and they took my social security # name address they are coming for me. I am not afraid of them or anyone!! There I said it Come get me, You don't know the story, it's not what you think."
In addition to many Facebook posts detailing her role, investigators found several videos posted to social media confirming White's presence at the Capitol, along with security footage, according to the FBI. The images show her wearing a red "Make America Great Again" hat with a Trump-emblazoned flag tied to her neck like a cape.
In one video, she and others chastise a man who is trying to break a Capitol window.
Another video shows White pushing toward the tunnel entrance of the building's lower west terrace. The crowd chanted, "Pull the cops out!" White is seen "raising her fist and cheering as the rioters force a large flagpole into the entranceway where the [Metropolitan Police Department] officers are standing guard," according to the FBI affidavit. "After White has pushed her way closer to the entrance, she helps hoist up another rioter, who then makes his way to the entrance and proceeds to assault the [Metropolitan] officers. White is seen pointing and cheering as the rioter swings from the top of the entranceway and kicks the [Metropolitan] officers."
Security footage shows a person who appears to be White making her way up to the terrace of the building, to a group of officers holding riot shields, according to the affidavit. "As the video progresses, the [Metropolitan] officers attempt to push White back with their riot shields and fend her off with a baton," the affidavit states. "White is seen in a red sweater, and it appears that she is attempting to grab a shield and uses her hand to block the baton."
In another Facebook post, White admitted to joining an effort to enter the building but said she thought they were moving toward a doorway leading up to the next level of the terrace.
"But this doorway, there's police there and they're spraying mace. … As I get closer my shoes fall off and my coat was like around my waist and came off and my coat had my cell phone. It had my driver's license. … And I'm getting beat in the head with a metal baton by the police and I'm getting massively sprayed with pepper spray by the police. And next thing I know, I'm in the police being like pushed backwards like ping pong of sorts and the next thing I know I'm in the State [sic] Capitol." White was detained Jan. 6, but released with no immediate charges, according to the affidavit.
On Thursday, Judge Thorson released White from custody on condition that she remain law abiding, not possess a handgun or other weapon and appear before a magistrate judge in Washington, D.C., via Zoom, on April 15. White did not enter a plea.
Larvita McFarquhar, a friend of White, said White called her Thursday about 6:20 a.m., as the FBI surrounded her home.
McFarquhar said she and White attended the Trump rally in Washington on Jan. 6, and the protest at the U.S. Capitol. "We were there to peacefully protest and that was it," she said.
McFarquhar said White did enter the Capitol premises but it was inadvertent when she stepped into a staircase and was pulled through a gate."Never once did I or anyone that I was with, especially Victoria, do anything illegal," she said. "What they are doing right now is a farce, and it's disgusting."
McFarquhar owns Havens Garden cafe, in Lynd, Minn., where White has worked. Last year, the cafe defied Gov. Tim Walz's lockdown restrictions in a political protest, racking up fines and a license suspension.
During the Jan. 6 pro-Trump demonstration, many of the former president's supporters stormed a joint congressional session formalizing the electoral victory of Joe Biden, falsely claiming Biden stole the election.
Members of the group severely damaged the nation's Capitol building, sent elected officials into lockdown and left about 138 officers injured, including Capitol police officer Brian D. Sicknick who later died.
Last month, federal prosecutors charged Jordan K. Stotts, a 31-year-old from Moorhead, with trespassing and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, both federal misdemeanors.
Andy Mannix • 612-673-4036