Former Orange County police chief charged with involvement in Capitol riots

A former California police chief and five other men were recently indicted on conspiracy, obstruction, and unlawful entry charges.

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Accused of storming the U.S. Capitol building and taking selfies during the attempted insurrection on January 6, a former California police chief and five other men were recently indicted on conspiracy, obstruction, and unlawful entry charges.

According to the indictment, former La Habra Police Chief Alan Hostetter attended then-President Donald Trump’s speech before marching to the U.S. Capitol building with Russell Taylor, Erik Scott Warner, Felipe Antonio “Tony” Martinez, Derek Kinnison, and Ronald Mele. At 2:13 p.m. on January 6, Warner allegedly entered the Capitol through a broken window.

Around 2:30 p.m., Hostetter and Taylor reportedly pushed through a line of law enforcement officers attempting to protect the lower level of the West Terrace. According to the indictment, Taylor was carrying a knife in the front chest pocket of his plate carrier vest.

As the other defendants later joined Hostetter and Taylor on the Upper West Terrace of the Capitol, Hostetter posted a selfie to his Instagram account with the message: “This was the ‘shot heard round the world!’ …the 2021 version of 1776. That war lasted 8 years. We are just getting started.”

On Thursday, Hostetter, Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison, and Mele were charged with conspiracy to obstruct official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, and entering a restricted building. Taylor faces additional charges of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder and unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds, while Kinnison and Warner were charged with tampering with documents after erasing the group’s Telegram chat, which conspired together in the days before storming the Capitol.

In early 2010, Hostetter began serving as police chief of La Habra in Orange County, California. Eight months later, he took a disability retirement.

In 2020, Hostetter was recorded on video speaking at “Stop the Steal” rallies and vocally opposing COVID-19 restrictions across Southern California. On January 1, 2021, the former police chief created a Telegram chat called “The California Patriots-D.C. Brigade” and invited the other defendants to join in order to plan their attack on the U.S. Capitol building.

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