HONOLULU (KHON2) — “Proud Boys” Hawaii chapter founder Nicholas Ochs is in federal custody under indictment related to the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6. The FBI tells KHON2 that Ochs was arrested at the airport by FBI agents without incident on Thursday, Jan. 7.
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According to an indictment unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the offense is listed as 18 U.S.C. Section 1752 (a), “Unlawful Entry into Restricted Buildings or Grounds” according to the FBI.
More than 90 people have been arrested since the backers of President Trump stormed the Capitol, overwhelming police and getting inside the building. Ochs was among the throngs of people who flooded the Capitol, according to his own Twitter photo where he posted “Hello from the capitol lol.”
In a criminal complaint and warrant for Ochs’ arrest, a federal agent cited the Twitter post, other images of Ochs seen on national television, and Ochs’ own interview with CNN talking about being in the Capitol.
Ochs founded the Hawaii chapter of Proud Boys, which the FBI says has been “calling for action over false claims that President Trump lost the election due to widespread voter fraud.”
“They clearly need to go after the high-profile cases, so the people that got their faces all over the internet, they’re the first ones to go down,” said political analyst John Hart of Hawaii Pacific University. “Who would ever guess that Hawaii would be involved in the coverage of a far-right insurrection?”
The federal agent wrote in his affidavit that he positively identified Ochs by matching social media images to Ochs’ 2020 Hawaii Republican Party candidate photo from when Ochs ran for state House District 22. Ochs lost that election.
“I think the Hawaii Republican Party, like many state Republican parties, are going to have to make a decision relatively soon, whether or not they’re still ‘Trumplicans,’ whether or not they’re still ‘Donald Trump’s Republican Party,’ as his son refers to it,” Hart said.
The Hawaii Republican Party did not yet respond to questions about Ochs’ arrest and party affiliation, but the party chairwoman Shirlene Ostrov told KHON2 this on the day of the riot: “There’s more that unites us than divides us. We ask for everyone to be safe and to remember that we’re all Americans first and to make sure that they treat each other with respect even while we can maintain our differences.”
KHON2 has not received responses to phone and email messages requesting comment from Ochs or an attorney on his behalf. The affidavit in the criminal complaint quotes Ochs as telling CNN: “We didn’t have to break in, I just walked in and filmed” and that he was “working as a ‘professional journalist.’”
Ochs’ alleged offense on the criminal complaint is “unlawful entry into restricted buildings or grounds.” Punishment can result in a year in prison but rises to a maximum of 10 years if injuries or weapons are involved.
Ochs’ first court hearing is set for Monday, Jan. 11, in Honolulu, and a federal filing asks for Ochs to be ordered to make an initial appearance in the Washington, D.C. federal district court in two to three weeks. The motion says “the government does not intend to ask for defendant Ochs to be detained.”