I wrote about John Sullivan last week. He’s a Black Lives Matter activists from Utah who was present during the riot at the Capitol last week. Specifically, Sullivan was right against the doors that Ashli Babbitt was trying to enter when she was shot by a police officer and killed.
Since then, Sullivan has been making the rounds to numerous media outlets. He gave video of the shooting to the Washington Post and gave interviews to CNN and Fox News among others. In every case he’s been trying to frame himself as a reporter who was there to film what was happening around him:
He previously told The Salt Lake Tribune that he was there to take videos and “watch history” as a journalist. He said he took a video of Ashli Babbitt being shot by Capitol police near the House floor. She later died.
“I was there to observe; I was there to see what they were going to do,” he said.
Last night, Sullivan was arrested in Tooele County, Utah on a warrant for his participation in the riot. The court documents used to secure the warrant for his arrest says very clearly that the problem with Sullivan’s claim that he was just there as a reporter is that his own videos, which he agreed to give to the FBI on Jan. 7, shows him behaving exactly like one of the rioters. This is what an FBI agent saw when he watched the video Sullivan shot that day:
After the crowd broke through the last barricade, and as SULLIVAN and the others approach the Capitol Building, SULLIVAN can be heard in the video saying at various points: “There are so many people. Let’s go. This shit is ours! F**k yeah,” “We accomplished this s**t. We did this together. F**k yeah! We are all a part of this history,” and “Let’s burn this s**t down.”
Later, SULLIVAN’s video includes footage of individuals climbing a wall to reach a plaza just outside the Capitol Building entrance, as seen in the screenshot
below. As individuals are climbing the wall, SULLIVAN can be heard saying, “You guys are f***ing savage. Let’s go!”…
SULLIVAN, once inside the Capitol Building, roamed the building with other individuals who unlawfully entered. During one of his interactions with others, SULLIVAN can be heard in the video saying, “We gotta get this s**t burned.” At other times as he is walking through the Capitol, SULLIVAN can be heard
saying, among other things, “it’s our house motherf***ers” and “we are getting this s**it.”
And this sort of thing goes on and on. Sullivan is seen warning two different police officers that they should stand down or they’ll get hurt. He enters one room in the Capitol and breaks a window from the inside while saying “We did this s**t. We took this s**t.”
Later when the crowd is stuck at a locked door, Sullivan calls out ““Hey guys, I have a knife. I have a knife. Let me up.” At another point he suggests the crowd go through another closed door and suggested, “break that s**t.” He then added, ““It would be fire if someone had revolutionary music and s**t.”
In sum, John Sullivan is either the best method actor in Washington DC or he was a very eager participant in the riot that took place at the Capitol on January 6. It sounds to me like Sullivan really enjoyed being a revolutionary for the day even if the revolution wasn’t the one he supports. Sullivan’s “Insurgence USA” page, the BLM activist group he founded, is currently under review by Patreon.
Finally, according to this Fox 13 News report, Sullivan’s own brother provided information to authorities and even suggested his brother was “in charge.” James, the brother, is allegedly a pro-Trump activists, at least I’ve seen some claiming that. I don’t think there’s any evidence John Sullivan was in charge of anything. There’s no evidence of that in the FBI affidavit based on his video. It seems to me Sullivan was just another eager member of the mob who later tried to explain away his actions by claiming he’d been there only as a reporter.
Update: This KUTV 2 clip contains some segments of Sullivan’s own videos where he is cheering the rioters on.
WHAT'S NEXT? Defense attorney Clayton Simms said John Sullivan's claim he was at the Capitol as a journalist will be considered, but his own words, video, and messages on social media will be used against him. pic.twitter.com/pNyrSmXjOU
— KUTV2news (@KUTV2News) January 15, 2021