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Checking in with the economically anxious seditionists


Maybe Ted Cruz can join him there until things quiet down enough for him to go back to Cancun:

In a warm day in late January, Luke Coffee invited me to join him on the patio of an Italian eatery at a fancy Hill Country resort and take in the view. The sprawling landscape, with orchards, vineyards, and horse stables, offered guests a rustic Central Texas take on the Tuscan countryside. But Coffee, a director and actor who appeared on NBC’s Friday Night Lights, could never fully relax. Though he was living an Instagrammable vacation dream, he was in fact a man in hiding from the law, someone resisting reality until that was no longer possible.

Just three weeks before, Coffee had been more than 1,500 miles away—in Washington, D.C. On January 6, he participated in the riots at the U.S. Capitol, overnight becoming one of the most recognizable faces in the throngs of Donald Trump supporters there. An image of Coffee at the entrance to the Capitol—right arm extended as if about to give a high five—had been plastered on FBI posters seeking identifying information about the rioters. His cowboy hat and camo jacket had made him easily identifiable among the crowd, and on Twitter, a group of amateur investigators calling themselves Sedition Hunters had promised to ruin the career of the man they called the #HighFiveCowboy.

After the riot, Coffee went home to Dallas. In short order, his image began circulating on Twitter, the FBI asked him for a meeting, his father publicly urged him on Instagram to turn himself in, and his college roommate, who had remained one of his best friends, called Coffee a domestic terrorist on social media. The 41-year-old Dallasite decided to go somewhere peaceful to “clear his head.”

This guy has exactly the moral compass you’d expect of a diehard Trump supporter:

There was little doubt about why the FBI was eager to sit down with Coffee. Footage recorded by journalists and attendees of the rally captures him near the top of the stairs leading to the building’s entrance, fewer than twenty seconds after rioters dragged D.C. police officer Michael Fanone out of a police line and into their midst and repeatedly assaulted him. In one clip, Coffee passes within several feet of a rioter beating the officer with an American flag and another who appears to pick Fanone’s black helmet off the ground and place it atop his own head.

Coffee told me that he never saw officer Fanone in distress, and that he went to the head of the crowd to try to de-escalate the situation. On video, Coffee can be seen lingering in the battle zone and at one point appears to yell at rioters to “stop.” But moments after, he picks up a crutch another protester had been wielding and holds it above his head, before lowering his shoulders and ramming into multiple officers.

Video footage analyzed by the New York Times also shows that, seconds before Coffee charges the officers, rioter Rosanne Boyland lies collapsed on the ground near his feet. The paper concluded that a protester holding a crutch—a man Texas Monthly can identify as Coffee—made it “virtually impossible for officers to give her aid, if they were able to notice her at all.” 

You don’t have to be a sociopath to want to protest on behalf of Donald Trump, but it’s how to bet.

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