Sanford firefighter Andrew James Williams is facing federal charges after he was accused of entering the U.S. Capitol building during last week’s insurrection in Washington.
According to the Sanford Fire Department, Williams faces “one count of Unlawful Entry of a Restricted Building and one count of Disorderly Conduct on Capitol Grounds.” Images showed Williams inside the building pointing to a sign displaying the name of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Sanford Fire Chief Craig Radzak released a statement regarding the charges against Williams. The department has also placed Williams on administrative leave.
“We hold the men and women in this department to the highest standards,” Radzak said.
“It saddens me that the actions of one individual have tarnished the hard work and dedication that the rest of the department puts forth on a daily basis. As is policy with any type of policy violation, including a criminal violation, an internal administrative process must be followed in order to ensure a thorough investigation with a just conclusion. I ask for the public’s patience as we move through this process.”
Williams joins multiple other Florida residents facing charges in the Jan. 6 attack, which led to five deaths, including a Capitol police officer. Another Capitol police officer committed suicide after the attack, but it’s not clear whether that was directly related to the events on Jan. 6. Adam Christian Johnson was booked by Pinellas County officials late last week after a photo showed him smiling and carrying Pelosi’s lectern through the Capitol. The U.S. Department of Justice has also charged several other Florida men for entering a restricted building.
Vincent Citro, who is serving as Williams’ attorney, went after President Donald Trump and law enforcement on the scene that day but tried to absolve his client of responsibility.
“The President and the Capitol Police encouraged despicable behavior, Mr. Williams took part in none of it,” Citro said. “In fact, you’ll notice in the complaint there are no allegations that Mr. Williams did any of those things.”
President Trump is facing a second impeachment vote Wednesday, while Senate Republicans have voiced some support for convicting the President this time around. Meanwhile, two Capitol police officers have been suspended for their actions during the mob invasion. The law enforcement response has been overwhelmingly criticized, as forces were quickly overwhelmed while Trump supporters invaded the Capitol.