PROVIDENCE — A second Rhode Island man is accused in the Jan. 6 attack at the US Capitol.
Bernard Joseph Sirr, 47, of North Kingstown, was arrested Wednesday on a felony charge of civil disorder and misdemeanor charges accusing him of joining the rioters in disrupting the joint session of Congress to count the electoral votes in the presidential election.
At his arraignment at US District Court Wednesday afternoon, Magistrate Patricia A. Sullivan released him on a $10,000 unsecured bond and ordered him to give up his passport and give his 12 guns to a relative. He must remain employed, not commit any crimes, and be under supervision during his release. He is scheduled to appear in court in Washington, D.C., on July 7.
Sirr works as a facility engineer at the Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center. The FBI confirmed that Sirr was on leave from his place of employment from Jan. 5 to Jan. 7, 2021.
“We really don’t have much in the way to comment,” Jeff Davis, assistant director of the Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center, told the Globe. “If he participated in the protest, that’s OK. It doesn’t have anything to do with our security efforts. We are doing what they guide us to do.”
“We are a very small agency,” Davis added. “We have 8.6 full-time equivalents employees. ... This is someone I worked with for years and I have a sense of his character. We don’t see him as a threat.”
R.I. Department of Administration spokesperson Laura Hart told the Globe: “Jeff Davis is speaking for himself and not representing the agency.” Sirr has been placed on paid administrative leave, she said.
“The Nuclear Science Center leadership was made aware of his arrest late this morning and is working collaboratively with the Division of Human Resources to pursue appropriate personnel action,” Hart said.
According to court documents, Sirr was among rioters who illegally entered the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021. He joined a line of rioters who were engaged in a confrontation with law enforcement officers in the tunnel area of the Lower West Terrace.
At approximately 3:08 p.m., video shows Sirr entering the tunnel. During a video taken inside the tunnel, Sirr is at the front of the police line pushing against rioters who are assaulting officers.
“Based on an initial review of publicly available video footage, USCP surveillance footage, and body worn camera (“BWC”) footage of officers who responded to the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, a tall, white male wearing a tan and black baseball cap with a snake on it, a blue neck gaiter, glasses, and a coat, who has been identified as BERNARD JOSEPH SIRR, as described below, can be seen repeatedly engaging in an assault against law enforcement officers guarding the United States Capitol, ” reads the FBI’s statement of offense against Sirr.
In the videos, Sirr can be seen pushing against the police line with his hand pressed against a police shield. He also participated in a struggle in which a group of rioters chanted, “Heave! Ho!” in unison as they moved together as a team against the officer.
Sirr exited the tunnel at approximately 3:14 p.m. About an hour later, however, he reappeared at the Lower West Terrace doorway, pushing other rioters who were pushing against police officers. Sirr ultimately was ejected from the tunnel area.
This case is being prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, with assistance from the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island.
Sirr was identified as “AFO-249″ on its seeking-information photos, the US Capitol Police, and the Metropolitan Police Department.
In the 17 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 800 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the Capitol, including 17 charged by the FBI Boston Division.
Timothy J. Desjardins, 35, of Providence, was the first Rhode Islander accused of violence at the Capitol. He was identified by FBI agents from videos on YouTube and body-worn cameras where he was seen attacking multiple officers with a broken table leg as they tried to stop a mob in the tunnel area of the Lower West Terrace at the Capitol, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
Desjardins is facing six charges: assaulting police officers using a dangerous weapon or inflicting bodily injury, civil disorder, entering or remaining in a restricted building with a dangerous weapon, engaging in physical violence in a restricted building with a deadly or dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
Desjardins is being held without bail at the Adult Correctional Institutions on charges from a standoff on Federal Hill and a road-rage shooting, also on Federal Hill, last fall. Providence police released video from two officers when Desjardins allegedly drew a handgun on them.
No date has been set for his initial court appearance in D.C. to face the federal charges.
Carlos Munoz of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
This article has been updated with additional information from the arraignment and from a Rhode Island Department of Administration spokesperson.