Crime

R.I. man arrested for entering Capitol during Jan. 6 attack

William B. Cotton, 53, of Hopkinton, R.I., was arrested by members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Security footage obtained by the FBI shows William Cotton, of Hopkinton, R.I., allegedly inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. FBI Boston Division

A Rhode Island man was arrested Wednesday on charges relating to the riots that took place in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 

William B. Cotton, 53, of Hopkinton, R.I., was arrested by members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the agency said in a release. He was taken into custody without incident. 

Cotton now faces four criminal charges: entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building or grounds, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building, according to the FBI. 

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Cotton was identified through photos and videos of the Capitol attack that were obtained by the FBI, according to court documents released by the agency. Cotton was allegedly part of a large crowd in the general area of the Senate Wing of the U.S. Capitol Building. 

Once inside the building, Cotton was seen making a phone call and then taking either photos or videos on his phone, according to the FBI. He also participated in a chant of the word “traitor,” according to the court documents. 

Investigators spoke with a third party that knows Cotton. This person was shown the photos and confirmed that Cotton was in them. 

The FBI also said that its agents confirmed Cotton’s presence in the Capitol through phone records and images of his vehicle traveling to Washington, D.C. 

Cotton’s arrest brings the total number of people charged by the FBI Boston Division in connection with the riots at the Capitol to 18. Cotton is the third person from Rhode Island to face charges related to the attack. 

Members of the public can track the charging and arrest of defendants in connection with the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 through a Department of Justice website.

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The FBI is continuing to ask for the public’s help identifying people who were in the mob that day. Photos and videos of the people authorities are searching for can be found on the FBI’s website.

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