WASHINGTON D.C.—On Thursday January 7, 2021, Utah native and BLM activist John Earle Sullivan was detained in Washington on K and 14th by the Hamilton hotel. This was not his first time he had conflict with the law. 

Sullivan, 25, is the founder of the civil rights group Insurgence USA, which started in 2020 in response to the death of George Floyd. He wanted to support the African American community in “the best way” he could. The principal ideology of his group is about “the unification of our nation because a people united will never be divided.” He has stated that he does not agree with the political ideas associated with both President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden. Sullivan has been in D.C. this week for several planned protests, including the Capitol rally that transpired Wednesday, January 6.

In a Twitter video posted by Insurgence USA, he explained that he was not there to incite violence but rather “to document the events and to be in history. [He] flew out here to be able to record the situation,” a passion of his in order to reveal the truth to people. 

Even before the Capitol insurrection, he posted footage of his demonstrations. A Youtube video released on August 28, 2020 in D.C. revealed how he encouraged a small crowd to attack the White House. He said, “We f****ing about to burn this s*** down… We got to defend ourselves because power to the people… We got to f****ing rip Trump out of that office right there, f****ing pull him out [of] that s***… We ain’t about waiting until the next election. We [are] about to get that mother f***er.”

In the Twitter video, which addressed the storming of the U.S. capitol, he responded that he “has emotions too and those moments [were] crazy… [He] just [wanted] to show people how it was, and [he] knew that [he] could be able to get to the truth and show it to the [viewers].”

In a Youtube video, it can be heard as Sullivan was being detained that he said, “I just want to know why I am being detained, that’s all. I did nothing wrong. I was just standing there talking.” Sullivan claims to have been there to document the chaos and discord in the Capitol building. He was also allegedly standing next to Ashley Babbitt, who was shot in the neck during the riot.

In his Instagram videos, he broadcasted that he wanted to show the difference and the perspective of the police line vs. the protest line. He wanted to let viewers “see the video for what it is and enjoy it.”