On Wednesday, U.S. Marshalls in Virginia announced that a man who was seen wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt while breaching the US Capitol had been identified and arrested.
Robert Keith Packer, 56, can be seen in several videos and images taken on January 6 as armed protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington D.C.
Images captured of him wearing a Camp Auschwitz sweatshirt led to an online manhunt. Twitter users used the social media platform to spread Packer’s image far and wide. Packer was positively identified using Virginia court records of his previous convictions.
Packer has a long criminal history. He has previously been convicted of forging public records, driving under the influence, driving without a license, and had a warrant issued for failing to appear in court.
According to Packer’s arrest warrant, he has been charged with two felonies: “violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds” and “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority.”
Packer’s sweatshirt is a dark reference to Auschwitz, a concentration and death camp in Poland that was used by Germany to kill 1.1 million Jews, Poles, Roma, and more. The bottom of Packer’s sweatshirt read “work brings freedom,” which is a translation of the metal sign that was hung at the death camps in an attempt to intimidate prisoners.
During the joint session of Senate when the Electoral College votes were certified Sen. Ted Cruz attempted to baselessly challenge the validity of the US presidential elections. He later attacked President-elect Joe Biden on Twitter for insinuating there was any valid comparison between the Republican Party and the Nazi Party of Germany.
Cruz tweeted, “Really sad. At a time of deep national division, President-elect Biden’s choice to call his political opponent’s literal Nazis does nothing to bring us together or promote healing. This kind of vicious partisan rhetoric only tears our country apart. Twitter.com/jameshohmann/s…”
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez quickly responded to Cruz’s tweet and did not hesitate to put the senator in his place.
AOC responded with, “They wore Auschwitz shirts, erected gallows, and tried to hang the Vice President. Your continued excusal and denial of Wednesday’s Neo-Nazi presence is abhorrent and dangerous. The most healing and unifying thing *you* can do is take responsibility for your actions and resign.”
In a second tweet, AOC added, “Your GOP colleague in the House praised Hitler this week. A Confederate flag was hung outside the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Yet you continue to deny this clear connection in the aftermath of Wednesday’s violence. You disgrace yourself and your office further every day. Resign.”
According to a joint press conference held by the Department of Justice and the FBI on Tuesday, the Bureau has opened more than 170 subject files and has charged more than 70 people. Michael Sherwin, the acting US attorney in Washington, DC, said the number of charges is expected to grow into the hundreds.
Three anonymous sources told CNN that Packer had previously worked as a welder and pipe-fitter and was a “long-time extremist who has had run-ins with the law.”
Packer was booked at the Western Tidewater Regional Jail. He had his first court appearance on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in Norfolk, Virginia.
“He’s been always extreme and very vocal about his beliefs,” one source said.
Another source described Packer as an “off-beat” character who has expressed frustrations with the government before.
This story is still developing and we will keep you updated on the situation as more facts become available.