Douglas County man is the 24th person with Georgia ties to be charged in Jan. 6, 2021 capitol riot
A Douglas County man, Phillip Marion “Bunky” Crawford Jr. is the 24th person with Georgia ties to be charged in Jan. 6, 2021 when insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to keep then president Donald Trump in office.
Thirty months after this ugly assault on our nations’ capitol, Crawford, 48, was arrested July 12. He is accused of assaulting police during some of the most violent moments of the riot.
His image is captured in a still photo captured from police body cameras. Documents filed by prosecutors last week show Crawford at multiple locations on the Capitol grounds during the riot, including allegedly fighting with Capitol police in the entry tunnel on the lower West Terrace.
Federal authorities had long suspected that Crawford was present at the Capitol, but could not make an arrest because of a lack of evidence to charge him with a crime. Since the riot, investigators have spent their time pulling together witness statements, photos and videos taken that day.
Several witnesses stepped forward and contacted the FBI to tell them of Crawford’s alleged involvement. They presented photos and videos Crawford allegedly took while on Capitol grounds. A break in the case came earlier this year. In January, a sergeant with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office identified Crawford from photos taken during the riot as the same person who had filed a police report on a suspected stolen trailer.
Court records say Crawford allegedly rallied rioters at the West Terrace, urging them to charge the police line and force their way into the Capitol. “Hey! We’re going to charge in that (expletive)!” Crawford reportedly said on a video taken during the riot.
According to the criminal complaint, once at the lower West Terrace tunnel, Crawford allegedly “began swinging his hands with closed fists at the fully-uniformed police officers guarding the entrance.” At one point, Crawford attempted to pull a fallen officer into the crowd, and later he threw a gas mask into the police line, investigators wrote.
Charged with assaulting a Capitol police officer, which is a felony, Crawford could receive up to eight years in prison. He also faces five misdemeanor counts related to his alleged conduct while on Capitol grounds. He had his initial appearance in federal court in Atlanta that same day and was released on $20,000 bond and ordered to remain in his home with a GPS ankle monitor.
January Riot and Georgia Citizens
Thus far, investigators have charged at least 1,069 people around the country with crimes related to the Jan. 6 riot. Approximately 350 of those have been charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding police officers. Those accused of fighting with police are among participants who have faced the most serious charges and several citizens from Georgia are included in that number.
Crawford is one of several Georgians alleged to have participated in the hand-to-hand fighting with police on the West Terrace. Others include Kevin Douglas Creek of Johns Creek, who was sentenced in March 2022 to 27 months in jail after he pleaded guilty to fighting with police as they tried to hold back the crowd advancing on the Capitol.
Locust Grove resident Jack Wade Whitton entered a guilty plea last year and faces the possibility of years in prison on charges that he fought with police in the same scrum in the West Terrace tunnel. Whitton is scheduled to be sentenced next month, but his defense attorney has asked for more time to allow his client to complete a psychological evaluation.
Athens resident Jake Maxwell was arrested in February 2022 and charged with fighting with police on the terrace.