An Arbuckle woman was arrested on Tuesday for her suspected involvement in the mob siege of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6.
According to the United States Department of Justice, Valarie Ehrke, of Arbuckle, was arrested in the Eastern District of California on suspicion of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct on Capitol grounds; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in the Capitol Buildings.
“On January 7, 2021, an anonymous caller provided information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that a close relation to the caller had seen that an individual named Valerie Elaine Ehrke, of Arbuckle, CA, had posted a video to Facebook of her inside the U.S. Capitol Building during the events described above,” according to charging documents.
A post on Ehrke’s Facebook page shows a group of people entering the U.S. Capitol Building with a caption reading, “We made it inside, right before they shoved us all out. I took off when I felt pepper spray in my throat! Lol.” The post was dated Jan. 6 at 2:09 p.m.
“The video is taken from the first-person perspective,” according to charging documents. “Thus, it shows that whoever took the video also entered the U.S. Capitol with the rest of the group.”
Investigators also stated that Ehrke’s Facebook profile page showed a flaming “Q” and a map commonly associated with QAnon, a far-right conspiracy group.
Another video was posted to Ehrke’s Facebook page at 11:57 a.m. on the day of the siege, showing the cameraperson walking with people through an area that appears to be in the streets of Washington, D.C. The video’s caption reads “B squad getting’ it, on the way to the breached capitol building.”
According to charging documents, a search of FBI databases showed that Ehrke departed Sacramento International Airport on Jan. 5 and flew to Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia – right next to the border of Washington, D.C. She made a return trip to Sacramento on Jan. 9.
FBI agents interviewed Ehrke at her place of employment on Jan. 13, during which she confirmed that she had traveled to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 5.
“She stated that on January 6, 2021, she and a friend attended a rally for President Trump, where she listened to President Trump speak,” according to charging documents. “She heard President Trump tell the crowd to go to the U.S. Capitol, and he would go with them.”
Ehrke said she went back to her hotel room instead, turned on the television and saw a news story about how people were going into the U.S. Capitol Building.
“Ehrke decided she wanted to be part of the crowd, and she walked to the U.S. Capitol,” according to charging documents. “Ehrke stated that when she arrived at the U.S. Capitol building, she joined a group entering through a set of double doors and proceeded about fifteen feet into the building. The crowd then started to push backward going out the doors through which they had entered. An unknown man grabbed her and pushed her outside.”
Based on the information obtained during the interview and the videos found on Facebook, an affidavit was submitted to show probable cause that Ehrke was guilty of violating 18 U.S.C. Section 1752 (a)(1) and (2).
As of Tuesday, nearly 100 people had been arrested in connection to crimes committed at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C, on Wednesday, Jan. 6.
Every case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Following arrest or surrender, defendants must appear before the district court magistrate/judge where the arrest took place, in accordance with the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.