A Salem man is the latest New Hampshire resident to face charges in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Richard Zachary Ackerman was arrested on Sunday and made his initial appearance in federal court in Concord Tuesday. According to an affidavit, he allegedly stole a helmet from a member of law enforcement and threw a water bottle that struck another officer. He also allegedly bragged in a text message sent shortly after the riot that he had taken the helmet.
“I was at DC today... I was right in the doorway to the building... I stole an officer's helmet,” Ackerman allegedly texted an acquaintance, according to the affidavit.
In a different text message obtained through a search warrant, prosecutors say Ackerman is seen in a selfie wearing the helmet and holding up his middle finger. Prosecutors allege Ackerman can also be seen in videos throwing a water bottle that strikes an archway and then hits an officer.
In June 2022, the Federal Bureau of Investigations searched Ackerman’s parents home in Salem, where he lived at the time, and recovered a U.S. Capitol Police helmet hidden inside of a chimney flue. Federal prosecutors say Ackerman allegedly affixed a sticker to the helmet bearing an emblem of NSC-131, a neo-Nazi group that’s active across New England.
According to court paperwork, the FBI learned about Ackerman’s potential involvement in the riot sometime in 2021 from an anonymous confidential informant who had been attending NSC-131 gatherings.
Ackerman is charged with one count of obstruction of law enforcement, assault or resisting a law enforcement officer, entering a restricted building, and theft of government property.
He is at least the fourth New Hampshire resident to face criminal charges in connection with the Jan. 6 riots. Earlier this month, a Hudson woman was sentenced to 11 months in jail after being found guilty of entering the Capitol building for approximately 20 minutes.
This story is a production of the New England News Collaborative. It was originally published by New Hampshire Public Radio.