A former Oktibbeha County road department foreman and his cousin were arrested last week for their alleged involvement in the insurrection of the U.S. government on Jan. 6.
Thomas Harlen Smith and Donnie Duane Wren both face a 10-count federal indictment, filed Wednesday and assigned to the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, according to court documents.
Those charges include: civil disorder; obstruction of an official proceeding; assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a capitol building; and acts of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or building.
On Jan. 6, the day a joint session of Congress and then Vice President Mike Pence convened at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., to confirm Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, a horde of supporters of defeated incumbent Donald Trump — which allegedly included Smith and Wren — stormed and entered the Capitol. Rioters disrupted the Congressional proceedings and engaged in acts of violence against Capitol police officers.
National media outlets, including the Huffington Post, reported the Federal Bureau of Investigation identified Smith and Wren with the help of “online sleuths” looking at photos and video footage of the hours-long incident.
Smith has been released on $10,000 bond. He has requested a court-appointed attorney.
These are not the only felony charges Smith is facing. In March, agents with State Auditor Shad White’s Office arrested Smith on an embezzlement charge. He is accused of stealing gas from the road department in the summer of 2019 when he was employed there as a foreman.
The county terminated Smith in August 2019. He then sued the county for wrongful termination, claiming the county was retaliating against him for being a whistleblower within the road department.
Both the embezzlement case and civil suit are still pending.
Zack Plair is the managing editor for The Dispatch.