A Princeton University student has been charged with civil disorder, a felony, for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Tuesday.
Larry Fife Giberson Jr., a native of Manahawkin, New Jersey, was arrested Tuesday morning. Giberson, 21, is a senior majoring in politics. He will make his first appearance in federal court on March 21, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
According to court documents, Giberson was among rioters on Jan. 6, 2021, who repeatedly engaged in violence against law enforcement officers guarding the Capitol in the Lower West Terrace “tunnel” entrance.
Giberson allegedly entered the tunnel at about 3:10 p.m. and made his way toward the front of the pack of rioters. He then allegedly joined rioters as they attempted to force their way into the building by coordinating “heave-ho” pushing efforts against the police line. While Giberson was at the front of the pack of rioters pushing against officers in unison with other rioters, one officer was crushed between a door and a shield held by a rioter, according to the court documents.
A few minutes later, Giberson rushed to the tunnel entryway and began waving more rioters into the tunnel. Giberson then returned to the tunnel to participate in a second round of coordinated pushing against the police line, according to the court documents. Eventually, police officers were able to gain temporary control over the tunnel and push rioters, including Giberson, out.
Rioters continually battled to regain access to the Capitol through the tunnel. As Giberson stood nearby, rioters dragged one officer into the crowd. According to court documents, Giberson watched as rioters assaulted and brutally injured the officer.
After watching the intensifying violence in and around the tunnel, and after watching rioters drag one officer out of the tunnel and violently assault that officer, Giberson allegedly started yelling “Drag them out!” He then cheered as weapons and pepper spray were used against police officers in the tunnel.
On campus, Giberson was vocal about his opposition to the university renaming Wilson College and The Woodrow Wilson School. In an open letter to The Tory, the conservative student newspaper at Princeton University, he expressed his indignation towards what he called the “hypocrisy of revisionism” and the “reckless and irresponsible decision” reached by school officials to remove Wilson’s name from school buildings.
“Ultimately, applying modern perspectives retroactively leads to precious little worthwhile discussion because the standards that guide our progressive, modern society are exactly that — a modern invention. In ten, twenty, a hundred years from now, what actions of ours will be deemed unconscionable or unchaste, such that will erase our names from the world we will have worked our entire lives to create for our posterity?” Giberson wrote in June of 2020. “Living on the forefront of history means recognizing and correcting the flaws of our past while simultaneously respecting and honoring the thousands of generations that have brought us to this point, flawed though they might have been. Although the past can often be difficult to grapple with, it is my opinion that this decision has painted the University as an institution too cowardly to face its own uncomfortable past with earnest sincerity and a hopeful determination for honesty and inclusivity moving forward.”
After Giberson’s arrest Tuesday, the publisher of The Tory issued a statement saying that Giberson’s letter was a guest contribution and that was his only connection to the Tory. “He was not a Tory member, and to the best of my knowledge, he did not attend any Tory meetings or events,” wrote publisher Darius Gross.
The case against Giberson is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Newark Field Office and the Washington Field Office, which identified Giberson as #515 on its “seeking information” photos.
Assistance in the case was provided by the Princeton Police Department, Princeton University Department of Public Safety, U.S. Capitol Police, and the Metropolitan Police Department
In an interview with the FBI that was conducted in Princeton, Giberson confirmed he was the individual identified in the photographs as #515.
More than 1,000 people so far have been arrested on charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to the Department of Justice.