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N. Carolina man charged in Jan. 6 riot for allegedly using bear spray on police

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A mob of supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump fight with members of law enforcement at a door they broke open as they storm the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, Nov 23 (Reuters) - A 19-year-old man has been arrested and charged with assault and other counts related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol for allegedly attacking police officers with bear spray and breaking through a U.S. Capitol window with a baseball bat, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.

A criminal complaint filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., accused Aiden Bilyard of Cary, North Carolina, with seven riot-related criminal offenses, including felony charges of civil disorder and assaulting a police officer with a dangerous weapon.

Bilyard was arrested Monday in Raleigh, North Carolina, and released after an initial court appearance in federal court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Court records on Tuesday afternoon did not list a defense lawyer for Bilyard.

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A mob of supporters of Republican former President Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in a failed attempt to prevent formal congressional certification of his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

According to a statement of facts by prosecutors, video shot by a Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police officer's body-worn camera on Jan. 6 shows Bilyard, wearing a gray Harvard sweatshirt and spraying a line of uniformed police outside the Capitol with an orange-colored liquid spray that investigators believe was bear spray.

Investigators said video taken later that day shows Bilyard with a group of rioters in front of a large Capitol window. After being handed a baseball bat by a fellow demonstrator, Bilyard shatters the window and "then turns to face the crowd and appears to clap and shout" to encourage rioters to enter the Capitol building.

Investigators said Bilyard then entered a Senate room through the broken window.

Nearly 700 people have been charged with participating in the Jan. 6 riot, and around 210 people have been charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding police officers or employees during the attack.

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Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Leslie Adler

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