A former South Florida police officer and Marine Corps veteran is the latest person to be charged with taking part in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Court documents filed Sunday show that Nicholas Lentz is charged in a criminal complaint with illegally being in a restricted building and disruptive and disorderly conduct.
Lentz, 41, is a former North Miami Beach police officer who also served with the Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to an FBI affidavit. There have been numerous people affiliated with law enforcement and the military charged with participating in the riot.
Lentz was identified though Facebook posts, including by North Miami Beach Mayor Anthony DeFillopo. According to the FBI, Lentz was interviewed by agents last week at his home in Boynton Beach and admitted being at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The riot came as Congress was working to certify the election of Democratic President Joe Biden, who defeated Republican Donnald Trump in November. Trump has claimed the election was stolen from him, for which there is little or no evidence.
“Lentz told the interviewing agents he had no intention of committing violence or destroying anything, and he claimed he did not do so,” the FBI affidavit says. “He added he felt obligated to help control the crowd, believing the crowd was more likely to listen to him than a uniformed officer.”
But in his Facebook post, according to the affidavit, Lentz attended then-president Trump's speech near the White House before heading to the Capitol and made clear why the crowd was there.
“America has spoken. You can not stop millions of people. Cannot stop it. Can't. It's impossible. America has a voice. We give them the power,” Lentz posted.
“We're not here to hurt any cops of course,” he added. “I love my boys in blue, but this is overwhelming for them. There's no way they can hold us back.”
Like dozens of others across the country who attended the riot, Lentz is being prosecuted in Washington. Court records show Lentz was released on $25,000 bail and has another hearing Feb. 26 in Washington.
Lentz was a North Miami Beach police officer from June 2016 until August 2020, according to the Miami Herald. He also worked for the Fort Pierce police department in St. Lucie County from 2014 to 2016.
His attorney was listed as a federal public defender in court records, but no name was attached to it.