Sturgis man arrested on Capitol riot charges

James Haffner moved to Sturgis from Seattle after the Jan. 6 riot
The FBI believes the man circled in green on the right is James Haffner of Sturgis. Haffner...
The FBI believes the man circled in green on the right is James Haffner of Sturgis. Haffner faces four charges related to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.(KOTA)
Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 4:58 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A Sturgis man has been arrested on four charges related to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

James Haffner, 53, is charged with obstruction of law enforcement during a civil disorder, unlawful entry on restricted buildings or grounds, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers or employees. Read the federal statement of offense here.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation received a tip two days after the riot that reportedly showed a screenshot of Haffner’s Facebook account, helping in his identification when investigators sifted through thousands of images and videos of the riot. They also used Haffner’s South Dakota driver’s license photograph.

At the time of the riot, Haffner reportedly lived in the Seattle, Wash., area but then moved to Sturgis. He was arrested Wednesday in Pennington County, making his initial court appearance later that day.

Ronald Loehrke, 30, Georgia, is charged in the same complaint. Loehrke also resided in the Seattle area at the time of the riot.

The FBI alleges that Loehrke was in contact with a member of the Proud Boys organization as well as Haffner before the riot. Investigators say the pair marched with that Proud Boy member to the Capitol; joining a crowd that overwhelmed a pedestrian gate and dismantled barricades on the way to the building. Once near the east side doors, Haffner reportedly sprayed officers with an aerosol. Shortly after, rioters breached the doors and entered the Capitol.

On Jan. 6, thousands of people protesting the November presidential election stormed the Capitol where a joint session of Congress was ascertaining and counting the electoral votes.

The actual number of rioters is not known. However, since Jan. 6, the federal government has arrested more than 675 people from nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the event. Of those, 210 have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

Copyright 2021 KOTA. All rights reserved.