JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A Johnson City man has been arrested and charged with four counts in relation to his alleged participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots.
James Wayne Brooks, 50, was arrested and charged with the following counts on Jan. 5, 2022:
- 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
- Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building
Brooks reached out to News Channel 11 and agreed to an interview, where he admitted to entering the Capitol on Jan. 6 but said he was non-violent and was allowed to enter and exit the building by Capitol Police.
Brooks said in the weeks leading up to the riots, he was being influenced by the QAnon conspiracy theory. Consuming misinformation online, Brooks said he believed events at the Capitol on Jan. 6 would prove the 2020 election had been stolen.
“What we were being told was that the FBI and the soldiers were standing behind Trump because it was a fraudulent election and arrests were going to be made,” Brooks said.
He believed the arrests would be of politicians, but that never came to fruition. He said he felt misled by the QAnon theories.
“If had known then, what I know now, that all the QAnon, underground news stuff I was reading was false, I would’ve still went, but I would not have entered the Capitol building,” Brooks said.
Brooks said President Trump’s speech at the Ellipse near the White House also proved motivational for the rioters.
“President Trump asked that we march to the Capitol and so we did,” Brooks said. “That could have got some extremists wound very tight. I can’t speak for them. I can only speak for myself.”
Brooks, an Iraq War veteran, maintained that his actions at the Capitol were nonviolent. The riots did result in dozens of injuries to Capitol Police. Ashli Babbitt, one of the rioters, was shot dead by Capitol Police.
He claimed he entered the building after initial waves were already inside.
“I did not push my way through anyone. I never raised a hand at anyone,” Brooks said. “The only thing I was armed with was pepper spray for my own protection.”
An FBI report said Brooks was first seen on Capitol surveillance video at 2:29 p.m. carrying a South Carolina flag with a Marine Corps logo attached. He was also wearing body armor, an Iraqi Freedom Veteran hat, and a communications radio.
By 2:37, Brooks was entering the building through the Upper West Terrace Door. He claimed Capitol Police officers let him and others inside the building where they were then escorted through two corridors before being led back outside by Capitol Police.
“[The officer] said, ‘Excuse me, sir. Would you please step this way?’, which I complied,” Brooks said. “Basically what they did was they just funneled me right back out of the Capitol building.”
At 2:47, Brooks was seen on officer bodycam footage exiting the building. He spent approximately 10 minutes inside, according to the report.
At the time, Brooks did not believe he was breaking the law because he said officers were letting people into the building.
“By the time, I reached the Capitol building, they were just letting people in. I didn’t think I was breaking any law,” Brooks said. “I had no idea upon going up to the Capitol that things were going to shake out as they did.”
The FBI was able to identify Brooks through a May 2021 Facebook post in which he was wearing the same grey and red hoodie that was seen in the surveillance photos.
Brooks told News Channel 11 that his next court appearance is set for March 17.