Like many who came before him, Leonard P. Ridge of Feasterville, PA put misplaced trust in the supposed anonymity presented by the Snapchat application. Ridge was apprehended by the Federal Agents on Friday May 21st. Ironically the 19 year-old had posted, “Just pray for me that I don’t get arrested by the fbi (sic),”
He posted that message to Snapchat January 7th, just a day after he posted several videos to social media showing him entering the Capitol building amongst the rush of unruly protestors.
According to the Bucks County Courier Times,
“Ridge now faces federal charges, including obstructing an official proceeding, entering and remaining in restricted building and grounds and disorderly conduct.
An unnamed witness tipped off authorities two days after the insurrection saying they received a video posted on Ridge’s Snapchat.
That person said a second witness, who knew Ridge from high school, sent them the video Ridge made, according to court documents.”
Various reports show that a third alleged witness contacted an FBI tipline January 30th referring to Ridge’s SnapChat profile name. With the profile name in hand the FBI had an easy time pressuring Snap, Inc. to cough up not just the ‘incriminating’ video but also geolocation data provided by Ridge’s device. Working back through the online records, the Feds also found chats between Ridge’s supposed account and other Snapchat users discussing the allegations of electoral fraud and stating,
“Something really big will happen in this nation very soon”
Chats from the Capitol
The Snapchat account raided by the FBI allegedly belonging to Ridge contained numerous chats and videos referring to the January 6th Capitol Breach according to local ABC affiliate abc6.
- “Yeah just stormed the US capital (sic) for the first time in US history and I was a part of it,”
- “Yeah man so epic I have a video of me fighting riot police in the capital.”
- “I saw it. Yeah f—ing nuts. I just made history,”
- “I hate to say it but like the time for us to fight is here,”
- “We bro (sic) down McConnells door and nacy pelosios (sic) door and raid the offices.”
Other users posting allegedly referred to Ridge as a “legend” and replied that he had learned “someone was shot in the neck” likely referring to Ashli Babbit, a 35 year old veteran who was shot and killed by Capitol Police at near point-blank range when she began to climb through a partition window.
Federal Charges Likely, But With Little Jail Time
Pennsylvania News Today reports that Ridge is the fifth resident of Bucks County to be arrested in connection to the events of January 6th. Of the 2,000 or so people that have been charged in the aftermath of the Capitol Breach the most common charges have been misdemeanors.
The Washington Post explained,
“More than 600of the charges filed are potential felonies, and slightly more than half of the people charged face at least one felony.
The most common charge against the Jan. 6 defendants is knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without authority — a kind of catchall count for trespassing on restricted grounds.
The second most common charge filed is disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds — a count lodged against more than 300 people. Seventy-five have been charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding police officers.”
The 19 year-old Pennsylvanian is looking at charges that include “obstructing an official proceeding”, “entering and remaining in restricted building and grounds” and “disorderly conduct.” Legal experts have told several outlets that the rank-and-file folks who stormed the police lines and entered the Capitol building will likely face little if any jail time, with the heaviest sentences reserved for those who provably destroyed property, carried weapons or could meet the high hurdle of proven conspiracy.
The riot “looked awful. It was awful, But the criminal penalties associated with most of the offenses will not likely result in lengthy prison terms, especially if these individuals plead guilty and cooperate. And that’s how our system is supposed to work.” Jay Town, a former U.S. Federal Attorney in Northern Alabama said.