A former Topeka City Council candidate was arrested without incident Friday on a federal warrant charging him with seven crimes linked to the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, where he acknowledged being present last month.
William Alexander Pope, 35, was booked at 9:40 a.m. Friday into the Shawnee County Jail, where records indicated he was being held without bond that afternoon on a federal hold order.
Pope was arrested Friday morning by FBI special agents, members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and officers with the Topeka Police Department on a warrant issued by the U.S. Court District of Columbia, said FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton.
She said Pope faces charges of civil disorder; obstruction or impeding any official proceeding; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; impeding passage through the Capitol grounds of buildings; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
Additionally, Pope’s brother, Michael Pope, of Sandpoint, Idaho, was arrested on the same charges Friday by FBI special agents within the territory of the FBI’s Salt Lake City division, Patton said.
Pope identified himself as Will Pope when he ran unsuccessfully against current Topeka Councilwoman Christina Valdivia-Alcalá in 2019 for the seat she now holds representing District 2 on the Topeka City Council.
Pope: ‘I was at the Capitol to exercise first amendment rights’
Pope was among those present Jan. 6 when thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., he acknowledged in a Jan. 11 text message to a Topeka Capital-Journal reporter. Pope was caught on video inside the Capitol.
“I was at the Capitol to exercise my first amendment rights and remain loyal to the United States of America,” he said.
Pope said he wasn’t violent during the riot.
“The best way to mend the fabric of our society is to maintain the confidence of people in their institutions of government,” Pope added.
The mob supporting former President Donald Trump illegally entered the U.S Capitol on Jan. 6 to prevent the counting of Electoral College votes that confirmed President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ victory.
Pope said Jan. 11 he had already reported himself to the FBI because he believed it was the “right thing to do.”
Pope is a graduate assistant in Kansas State’s communication studies department
Pope, a doctoral student and graduate assistant in Kansas State University’s communication studies department, was still enrolled and employed at the university as of Thursday. He was previously an adjunct leadership studies instructor at Fort Hays State University for five years before going to K-State in fall 2019, according to Pope’s LinkedIn page.
Pope, during the 2019-2020 school year, is listed as having taught several sections of introductory public speaking courses, as well as distance courses during the fall 2020 semester. Pope wasn’t listed as teaching any classes for spring 2021 in K-State’s communication studies department.
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