Austin man faces new felony connected to Capitol riot

Published 5:28 pm Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Editor’s Note: Minnesota Public Radio contributed to this report: .

An Austin man, charged with four misdemeanors along with his father in connection to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot is now facing a felony charge.

Minnesota Public Radio’s Matt Sepic has reported that Daniel Eugene Johnson, 29, along with his father Daryl Johnson, of St. Ansgar, Iowa, is facing a felony count of interfering with U.S. Capitol Police. According to Sepic’s story Tuesday, Daniel Johnson, who was at the Capitol riot with his father, is charged by felony information, indicating they intend to plead guilty.

Both Johnson’s were initially charged with four misdemeanors related to that day including:

  • Entering and remaining in a restricted building;
  • Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building;
  • Violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and 
  • Parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.

Daryl, red circle, and Daniel Johnson, blue circle, pictured in this screen capture included in federal court documents, have been chareged in the Jan. 6 breach of Capitol Grounds. Daniel, 29, is from Austin. Court documents state that both Daniel and his father Daryl were inside the Capitol during the riots. Photo provided

According to the criminal complaint, an individual called the FBI National Threat Operations Center on Jan. 7 to report that Daniel posted a video from inside the U.S. Capitol building during the riot onto his Snapchat account. The caller knew that Daniel had a cellular phone number ending in 8691.

On Jan. 18, another individual submitted a tip through the fbi.gov/uscapitol online portal which included a screenshot of a Facebook comment written by Daniel that stated, “I was one of the first ones inside the capitol building.”

The FBI received another tip on March 1 from an individual who alleged that Daniel and his father, Daryl Johnson of Iowa, were inside the U.S. Capitol building during the Jan. 6 riots.

During the investigation, the FBI uncovered videos of Daniel and Daryl inside the U.S. Capitol building. The FBI also reviewed Daniel’s Facebook page, which showed a number of political posts around the time of the riots. In one post, dated Jan. 7, Daniel posted a photograph of the Jan. 6 crowd near the U.S. Capitol building with the caption, “Couple thousand?? Lol try like 4 million people!!! (sic)”

The FBI also found private Facebook messages between Daniel and another individual in which Daniel said, “We stormed capitol hill (sic)” and “Lol Dad and I were one of the first ones inside (sic).” In another message to a friend, Daniel boasted, “I was one of the first ones inside the capitol building.”

A St. Ansgar police officer who knew Daryl Johnson’s father, who was the former mayor of St. Ansgar, and a Mower County deputy who was familiar with Daryl and Daniel helped identify Daryl from photographs taken during the riot. An individual who personally knew Daniel positively identified him in photographs taken inside the U.S. Capitol building during the riots.

Daniel’s arrest was announced in a Friday morning tweet by the FBI’s Minneapolis office, stating:

“Daniel Johnson, 29, of Austin, MN was arrested by #FBI Minneapolis special agents and Austin PD this morning on charges relating to criminal acts at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.”

According to MPR’s report, Daniel Johnson is among five Minnesotans charged with the same felony in connection with protests that turned violent as members of Congress met to confirm the election of President Joe Biden nearly a year ago.

Both men were arrested in June and are currently free.