Capitol Riot

Capitol Attack: Study Looks Into the Demographics of Those Arrested

Florida is in the top three when it comes to number of those arrested.  

NBC Universal, Inc.

Law enforcement has arrested more than 350 people for breaking into the Capitol in an effort to stop the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 election.

In a new study, researchers from the University of Chicago look into the demographics of the accused rioters.

Florida is in the top three when it comes to number of those arrested.  

After losing a race for the Florida House, former Army captain Gabriel Augustin Garcia was arrested earlier this year in connection to the riot.

According to the criminal complaint, Garcia streamed his time inside the Capitol. At one point, he allegedly turned to his camera to say, “We just went ahead and stormed the Capitol. It's about to get ugly."  

He has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges - from disorderly conduct to obstruction of an official proceeding.

As of March 31, Garcia was one of 35 Floridians arrested and charged with being involved in the attack. 

Garcia is somewhat an outlier, researchers found, since he is the only one so far from the largest and most diverse county in Florida: Miami-Dade.

“It’s the (counties) ones that are changing are the most important,” Robert Pape said.

Pape is among the group of researchers who worked on the study.

They found most of those arrested did not come from Trump-supporting counties, rural counties or the most diverse. Instead, researchers concluded most came from counties becoming more diverse, where the white population has decreased 2% or more in recent years.  

“So, simply being diverse already isn’t the cocktail. It’s the counties that have diversified the most,” Pape explained.   

Researchers looked into 377 accused rioters. They identified where they are from based on the county they self-reported at the time of their arrest. 

NBC 6 Investigators found several who lived or worked in South Florida in the past.

Researchers also surveyed 1,000 people nationwide and found 4% falsely believe the election was stolen and would participate in a violent protest.

As for their motivation, Pape said, A factor that’s important to driving the insurrectionists is social change and particularly the idea known as the ‘great replacement.’ The idea that rights of minorities are outpacing the rights of whites.” 

Compared to arrests nationally, the research shows Florida does have a higher percentage of accused rioters associated with extremist groups. 

Federal investigators said Garcia showed support for a Proud Boys’ member during the attack.

Aubrey Webb, one of the attorneys representing Garcia, declined NBC 6’s request for comment or an interview, saying his client “doesn’t trust the media.”

Contact Us