SEATTLE (AP) — A small-town Washington state school board member has resigned after he and his stepson were charged in the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
Richard Slaughter, 40, of Orting, Washington, northwest of Mount Rainier, and his 20-year-old stepson, Caden Paul Gottfried, came forward last week on charges of assault and police interference during the uprising.
Slaughter was elected to the Orting School Board last fall. In campaign material, he described himself as a mortgage adviser and said he and his wife run a teen center. He opposed requiring children to wear masks at school as a means of containing the coronavirus pandemic.
In a note to families and school staff on Wednesday, school board chairman Carrie Thibodeaux announced that Slaughter had resigned and that his resignation would be discussed at Thursday night’s board meeting.
“In my conversations with Rick, he said this decision was based on his love for his family,” Thibodeaux wrote.
She added: “While we appreciate Rick’s service to the district, we are also saddened by the pain and frustration the recent events have caused.”
Slaughter’s attorney Joseph R. Conte said in an email Thursday that his client plans to plead innocent.
According to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent in Tacoma, Slaughter and Gottfried first came to the attention of the agency on Jan. 7, when they disrupted a flight from Washington, DC to Seattle by refusing to wear masks and protesting. against the results of the presidential elections.
In an interview with officers, Slaughter admitted they were at the riot but denied committing any crimes, saying “conservatives don’t protest, they have jobs,” the affidavit said.
In April, a source identified Slaughter in images of the riot and provided links to his wife’s Facebook page with photos of him there. Videos showed him holding a police riot shield away from officers, urging police to step down and assaulting officers with a long stick at a Capitol entrance, the affidavit said.
The Justice Department also announced charges Thursday against two other Washington residents for their role in the uprising. Prosecutors say Tucker Weston, 34, and Jesse Watson, 33, are roommates in Lynnwood who traveled to DC together and entered the Capitol illegally that day. Weston is charged with misdemeanor including pushing police officers, while Watson is charged with misdemeanors.
They first appeared in US court in Seattle on Wednesday and were released pending further hearings in DC. It was not immediately clear whether they had lawyers who could comment on their behalf.
More than 880 people have been charged with crimes related to the Capitol breach, an attack designed to block President Donald Trump’s transfer of power after Joe Biden’s election. About 400 have pleaded guilty. More than 270 have been accused of attacking or obstructing law enforcement.
Sentences for the rioters ranged from probation for minor offenses to 10 years in prison for a man who used a metal flagpole to attack an officer.
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