A South Jersey farmer charged with assaulting a Capitol police officer is the 14th New Jersey resident facing prosecution in connection to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Authorities say Ezekiel “Zeke” Stecher, of the Sewell section of Mantua, repeatedly attacked police and participated in attempts to storm barricades and enter the building, where Congress was meeting to certify the election result that President Donald Trump had falsely claimed was stolen.
The owner Stecher Farms in Mantua is seen identifying himself in a video uploaded to the FBI’s tip line by a farmer who said he’s known Stecher for 10 years, according to the complaint.
Witnesses also identified Stecher in surveillance images taken inside the Capitol, federal officials said.
Surveillance videos show Stecher making three attempts over the course of six hours to get into the Capitol as part of a crowd pushing against a Metropolitan Police riot line, according to the complaint. Authorities said he would retreat each time that chemicals were sprayed at the crowd but he would wash out his eyes and try again.
The first crowd he joined also managed to wrest protective shields from officers, according to the complaint.
Stecher is charged with civil disorder and assault on a federal officer, knowingly entering or remaining in a physical violence against any person or property in any restricted building or grounds, violent entry, engaging in physical violence on Capitol grounds and obstruction of justice and Congress.
Stecher had his first court appearance in U.S. District Court in Camden on Tuesday and was released on $100,000 bond.