Who is Eric Munchel? 'Zip tie' rioter who stormed Capitol building with mother arrested in Nashville
According to the documents by the Fulton County, Georgia, records reveal that Munchel stood trial in 2015 for misdemeanor battery charges
A man from Tennessee who had expressed pro-Trump views and was accused by online researchers for carrying plastic hand restraints in the US Senate while storming the Capitol building on Wednesday, January 6, was arrested on Sunday. Eric Munchel, 30, was being held in a Nashville jail Sunday, January 10, on a federal warrant, online records show. An FBI spokesperson, Samantha Shero, confirmed the arrest. The federal prosecutor's office in Washington is handling the case.
Eric Munchel, 30, of Nashville was taken into custody by the FBI in Nashville a short time ago. He is charged in connection with the U.S. Capitol riots on January 6th.— U.S Attorney-Middle District of Tennessee (@USAO_MDTN) January 10, 2021
"Photos depicting his presence show a person who appears to be Munchel carrying plastic restraints, an item in a holster on his right hip, and a cell phone mounted on his chest with the camera facing outward, ostensibly to record events that day," the office said in a news release, which identifies him by his full name, Eric Gavelek Munchel.
Shortly before the charges were announced, the British newspaper The Sunday Times published an interview with Munchel. The newspaper stated he had driven from Nashville with his mother, a nurse, and that he spoke with a journalist after they allegedly had taken part in the Capitol incident. “We wanted to show that we’re willing to rise up, band together and fight if necessary. Same as our forefathers, who established this country in 1776,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. “It was a kind of flexing of muscles," he’s quoted as saying. "The intentions of going in were not to fight the police. The point of getting inside the building is to show them that we can, and we will.”
According to the documents by the Fulton County, Georgia, records reveal that Munchel stood trial in 2015 for misdemeanor battery charges. The Sandy Springs Police Department captain said Munchel and another man were accused of assaulting a man and woman in 2013. Records on the final disposition of the case weren’t immediately available. In 2014, he was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana and speeding, for which he negotiated a plea that diverted his sentence, publicly available Fulton County Superior Court records explicate. Those records also state there are no judgments against Munchel.
Law enforcement officers use flexible plastic restraints to handle large-scale arrests in riots and similar situations. Different ways of these restraints are known as zip ties, flex cuffs or flexi cuffs. Though Munchel's picture went viral after the Capitol incident, at that time, he was not identified. "The images of this man in the Capitol in pseudo-military garb with Flexi cuffs evokes the summer plot to kidnap the Michigan governor," said Ari Weil, a former director of the University of Chicago’s Militant Propaganda Analysis team. "But it’s very unclear if he had plans in this case."