Western Tidal Water Region / AP
One of the most enduring images of the attack on the US Capitol is that of a long-haired, bearded man dressed in a black sweatshirt with a skull and crossbones graphic and the inscription “Camp Auschwitz” in large type.
In a statement issued before Wednesday’s hearing, the FBI identified him as Robert Packer, 56, of Newport News, Va.
Packer was arrested at his residence, according to the affidavit, and appeared on Wednesday in a virtual hearing before U.S. Judge Douglas Miller in Norfolk. Packer faces two crimes: knowingly entering or residing in any restricted building or site without legal permission; and the forced entry and disorder of the Capitol.
The statement said Packer was first identified by the media and that the FBI matched the photos taken in the Capitol with Packer’s driver’s license. The declaration includes images of Packer both outside and inside the Capitol, which appeared on social media and on a British television network.
Camp Auschwitz refers to a complex of German labor and extermination camps in occupied Poland during World War II, in which more than 1 million people were killed, most of them Jews. Packer’s sweatshirt also included the words “work brings freedom,” an inaccurate translation of the German slogan above the camp’s entrance gate, “arbeit macht frei.”
Packer was released at his own request, according to WAVY, a member of Norfolk NBC. He was not required to issue bonds, but was forced to stay away from Washington, DC. He has a virtual court appearance scheduled for Jan. 19 in U.S. District Court for DC
Michael Sherwin, a current U.S. lawyer in Washington, says hundreds of people are expected to be charged in connection with the attack on the Capitol.
The statement included a December 11 security camera photo of Packer wearing the same sweatshirt at a store near Newport News. An unidentified witness contacted the FBI to say that Packer was a regular customer of the store. The witness does not know Packer’s name.