Federal authorities on Wednesday arrested an Ohio pastor and charged him with felony and misdemeanor charges after he allegedly entered the Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, rioting.
William Dunfee, 57, of Frazeysburg, is charged with obstructing an official proceeding and interfering with a law enforcement officer, according to a release from the Department of Justice (DOJ), along with five other misdemeanor charges.
Dunfee is scheduled to make an appearance Wednesday in front of a judge at the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Ohio.
He is a pastor at the Christian church New Beginning Ministries in Warsaw, Ohio. According to his biographical page, Dunfee became a pastor in 1994 and helped found the New Beginnings church in 2001.
In late December 2020, Dunfee delivered a sermon asking his followers if they were “ready” for Jan. 4 through Jan. 6, according to the DOJ.
“The Government, the tyrants, the socialists, the Marxists, the progressives, the RINOs [Republicans in Name Only], they fear you. And they should,” he allegedly said. “Our problem is we haven’t given them reason to fear us.”
On Jan. 6, Dunfee arrived at the Capitol and led other rioters into the building in a bid to stop the certification of the 2020 election. He used a bullhorn to address other Capitol rioters and exclaimed “Hallelujah!” during the deadly attacks.
The Salt and Light Brigade is part of Pass the Salt Ministries, an Ohio-based charity founded by Dave Daubenmire that has offered armed tactical training to members.
Daubenmire is a self-described “veteran” football coach known for a legal battle with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the 1990s. The ACLU had sued him for mixing prayer with football coaching; the case was settled outside of court, but the ACLU won restrictions.
Daubenmire, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2010, brought around 129 people to the Capitol rioting, according to The Epoch Times.
An attorney defending one of the four members of the Oath Keepers group who went on trial earlier this week said his defendant, Kenneth Harrelson, was falsely accused of acts on Jan. 6 that the Salt and Light Brigade engaged in.
The judge rejected the attorney’s motion to delay the trial after he raised concerns, according to the Epoch Times.
The Oath Keepers are a far-right militia with 11 members accused of engaging in seditious conspiracy during the Capitol attacks.
The DOJ has arrested more than 870 defendants in connection to the attacks and have charged more than 265 with assaulting or impeding law enforcement officers.