Here’s how the FBI ID’d a Ridgefield man charged in ‘barbaric’ attack on officer at U.S. Capitol

Photo of Kendra Baker
Surveillance footage shows someone consistent in the appearance with Patrick Edward McCaughey III standing atop the scaffolding outside the Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021, according to an affidavit.

Surveillance footage shows someone consistent in the appearance with Patrick Edward McCaughey III standing atop the scaffolding outside the Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021, according to an affidavit.

Contributed photo

Just a couple of screenshots posted on social media were enough to identify a Ridgefield man charged for his involvement in a “barbaric” attack that injured an officer during the riot inside the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6.

But piecing together a case against Patrick Edward McCaughey III, in addition to others who have been arrested for their involvement in the events at the Capitol, came through review of surveillance and body camera footage, along with video clips from YouTube.

McCaughey, 23, appeared in court Wednesday and continues to be held in federal lockup after being charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officer or employees, civil disorder, entering restricted building or grounds, and violent entry or disorderly conduct.

McCaughey, according to an affidavit filed by the FBI, was front-and-center in a video widely disseminated on social media and TV stations that shows a mob of people pushing against police in an effort to make their way into the Capitol building. At one point, D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges was pinned between the mob and a doorway, screaming, mouth bloodied. He has since recovered from injuries. At the forefront was McCaughey, according to the affidavit and screenshots contained within the document.

“Come on man, you are going to get squished just go home,” a voice was captured as saying as the events unfolded. The affidavit states that “McCaughey’s mouth is not captured by the video to confirm the phrase” was said by him, but noted that the tone and volume are consistent with his voice in another clip.

Two images of McCaughey circulated on social media, which led to a childhood acquaintance coming forward Jan. 15, the day the images were first shared, and identifying him. Officials said at least three people were able to identify McCaughey, with at least one providing police with a date of birth, his living arrangement, cellphone number, and other key information.

Two images were not enough to make an arrest, however. FBI agents used the various forms of video to piece together a nearly an hour, step-by-step of where McCaughey was. Here’s a timeline pieced together by the FBI using that video footage.

2:26 p.m.

Police body camera appears to show Patrick Edward McCaughey III outside the perimeter of Capitol Grounds.

2:35 p.m.

Surveillance video shows someone “consistent in appearance” with McCaughey” standing atop the scaffolding in the west front area of the U.S. Capitol. Surveillance shows the individual appearing to hold an item in hand “and making motions that are consistent with someone using a cell phone to take photographs and video." A witness later provided the FBI with a “selfie” photo “that appears to have been taken of McCaughey on the scaffolding of the west front of the U.S. Capitol.

3:05 p.m.

Surveillance footage shows McCaughey entering a tunnel past the lower west terrace archway that leads to a U.S. Capitol entrance.

3:06 p.m.

McCaughey is seen on the same surveillance footage holding a clear police riot shield before walking towards the lower west terrace door — where Officer Daniel Hodges and other law enforcement were attempting to block the rioters from entering — and disappearing from view two minutes later. The affidavit alleges that the mob was calling for members to relieve those at the front in favor of “fresh” people to help the effort.

3:09 p.m.

YouTube video shows McCaughey holding a clear police riot shield while standing “one rioter back from uniformed law enforcement.”

3:10 p.m.

YouTube video shows McCaughey pushing the shield up against an officer attempting to keep rioters from entering the lower west terrace door and tells an officer to “just go home.” Seconds later, McCaughey is seen pushing Officer Hodges with the riot shield.

3:11 p.m.

YouTube video shows Hodges crying out in pain as McCaughey and others pin the officer’s body between the riot shield and the lower west terrace door. Seconds later, someone is heard saying, “This guy is pretty hurt, let him back, let him back” — it’s unclear if McCaughey said it, according to the affidavit. Shortly after, McCaughey is seen touching Hodges’ helmet and lowering the helmet’s shield before telling a nearby officer that Hodges “isn’t doing too well.” McCaughey then appears to say, “Let this guy through. He’s hurt, he’s hurt. Let him back,” while pointing to Hodges. The officer behind Hodges then nods and appears to wave for help.

3:12 p.m.

YouTube video shows McCaughey striking officers with the police riot shield before grabbing another riot shield from the feet of officers and passing it back to other rioters.

3:15 p.m.

Surveillance footage shows McCaughey exiting the tunnel past the lower west terrace archway. This was also captured in another video posted to YouTube.

McCaughey was arrested Tuesday at his father’s second home in South Salem, N.Y., according to his public defender Jason Ser, and appeared before a federal magistrate judge in New York the following day.

The judge ordered McCaughey be detained without bail pending proceedings early next month in Washington, where his case is being transferred.