PITTSFIELD — A fixture at local pro-Donald Trump rallies was arrested Tuesday on six federal charges for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol, including allegedly tussling with police officers.
And like others arrested in the attack, authorities said in court documents that Troy E. Sargent’s own social media posts helped federal prosecutors build a case against him.
Sargent, of Pittsfield, made his intention to go to Washington known on Facebook, when, days before Jan. 6, he shared a news article about the protests with an image of a hotel confirmation for Jan. 5 and the caption “I ain’t missing this,” according to images included in court documents.
That was one of several photos and videos posted online by Sargent that more than five different tipsters reported in January to federal authorities investigating the attack.
A body camera worn by a Metropolitan Police Department officer captured footage of Sargent “among a large group of rioters … who are facing off against a line of police officers,” Special Agent Tony LaCasse with the FBI Boston Division’s Joint Terrorism Task Force said in charging documents.
Sargent stopped to snap a selfie that shows him grinning in front of the officers, which he posted to his Facebook page and made his profile picture and since has deleted. Sargent apparently has deleted the account he used to post the image, but a photo of him can be found on another Facebook page, under a slightly different name.
Then, with his phone in his left hand, Sargent “appears to throw a punch with his right hand at a police officer, inadvertently strikes another member of the crowd, and then retreats back into the crowd,” LaCasse said, describing the body cam footage.
“Sargent appears to make physical contact with one or more law-enforcement officers,” he said.
Someone who knows Sargent also told authorities that they saw a video that appeared to show him on scaffolding that was restricted to the public, according to court documents.
One person told authorities that Sargent entered the Capitol building during the riot, and another said they saw a video in which Sargent admitted that he had gone inside. Others said they either had not seen evidence of him having breached the Capitol building or did not know either way.
Sargent did not immediately respond Tuesday to messages seeking comment, and a phone call placed to one number listed in public records as belonging to him played a recording saying the line was not accepting calls. It was not immediately clear who Sargent’s defense attorney is.
He is facing six federal charges, according to court documents: forcibly assaulting, resisting, opposing, impeding federal officers; obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder; knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; knowingly engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in restricted building or grounds; knowingly engaging in physical violence in restricted building or grounds; and willfully and knowingly engaging in physical violence in Capitol grounds or buildings.
Two other Berkshire residents, Brian McCreary, of North Adams, and David Lester Ross, of Pittsfield, both 33, also have been charged in the Capitol riots. Unlike McCreary and Sargent, who were charged in federal court in Massachusetts, Ross was arrested on the misdemeanor charge of violating the District of Columbia mayor’s curfew imposed after the riot, and was charged in Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
Sources told The Eagle that Sargent and Ross went to Washington together. Sargent was a participant in the local pro-Trump rallies that were happening weekly at the time.
The rallies led to at least two physical altercations between pro-Trump rally attendees and Black Lives Matter demonstrators, as well as at least three arrests. Sargent said he witnessed one altercation in September, when a violent incident ended with a white Trump supporter being knocked out by a Black man wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt.
“Literally, these people are just here to try to harass and terrorize us,” Sargent told The Eagle in a message at the time. “And it’s not only happening in Pittsfield, it’s happening all over the United States. BLM protesters are targeting Trump supporters as if it’s going to further their cause. I don’t know what the hell’s going on, but we got about eight more weeks of this and I don’t know what the future is going to bring, honestly.”