WASHINGTON — A Miami, Oklahoma man was arrested on August 19th for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021.
41-year-old Benjamen Scott Burlew, of Miami, is facing charges that include assault in special territorial jurisdiction and acts of physical violence on restricted grounds. Burlew made his initial court appearance in the Northern District of Oklahoma on August 20th.
According to court documents, Burlew was seen on video engaging in a physical assault against a credentialed media member working for the Associated Press.
The video depicts the AP photographer getting pulled down a set of stairs near the lower west terrace of the Capitol Building by two unknown assailants. While trying to relocate himself, the photographer moved to a different part of the stairs where he was confronted by Burlew.
Here, Burlew and another assailant grabbed the AP photographer, pushed him, and dragged him parallel to the stairs. This other protestor, Alan William Byerly, would later be indicted on August 20th for assaulting a District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Officer in a separate incident.
After shoving the photographer, Burlew walked away while others in the crown continued to push and drag the victim.
Later on in the video Burlew can be seen lunging toward the photographer and grabbing his upper chest and leg to force the man over a low stone wall he was backed up against. The photographer proceeded to fall several feet on his back onto the west lawn of the Capitol Building. Burlew could be seen in the video watching the man fall.
Burlew is one of eight individuals in this investigation who have been arrested for allegedly destroying media equipment, assaulting journalists or inciting violence against members of news media.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified Burlew as #195 and Byerly as #193, in its seeking information photos, as well as the Metropolitan Police Department, with significant assistance provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and FBI’s Oklahoma City Field Office.
In the seven months since Jan. 6, more than 570 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 170 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.