Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Sedition Hunters

By David Yaffe-Bellany, Bloomberg

Amateur internet sleuths have turned the Washington, D.C., insurrection on Jan. 6 into the ultimate online manhunt.

As he watched footage of the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol, Chris Sigurdson, an out-of-work actor in Canada, found himself drawn to a disturbing image: a man in an olive sweatshirt spraying chemicals at the police. On the man’s face, Sigurdson says, was a look of “demented glee.”

Sigurdson, 58, had been growing obsessed with the riot, spending 40 hours a week poring over photographs and videos. He noticed a resemblance between the man in the sweatshirt and a rioter who bragged about attacking police officers in a different video recorded at a hotel in Virginia. When he looked closely, he could see that they were the same person, carrying the same backpack.

Sigurdson posted his findings on Twitter at the end of January. Two weeks later, the FBI arrested Daniel Ray Caldwell of The Colony, Texas. An affidavit cited Sigurdson’s tweet as evidence. (Caldwell has pleaded not guilty to the seven federal crimes he’s charged with.)

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