A month after organizing a rally that led to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Ali Alexander and his organization Stop The Steal finally got around to blaming eight people for the day’s violence.
In a report titled “agitators,” the group uploaded pictures of seven men and one woman it accused of being infiltrators who lured unsuspecting “patriots” into the Capitol. Those supposed outsiders were missing from an FBI database, the report claimed.
But, in fact, the woman pictured is not off the FBI’s radar; the agency has released wanted posters with her face. And far from being a mysterious entity, she is a public figure—Candace Williams, ex-wife of NFL star Terrell Suggs, The Daily Beast has learned.
A pro-Trump vlogger, Williams marched on the Capitol with a large, double-bladed knife, which she brandished outside the Capitol during a conflict with other demonstrators. Though she remains a Donald Trump supporter, she said the suspicious treatment she received from some of her comrades has turned her off MAGA-type Trumpists.
Williams has not been accused of a crime, and does not appear to have entered the Capitol. Still, her appearance outside the building with a large knife caught the attention of the FBI, internet sleuths, and Trump supporters—the latter of which looked for reasons to accuse Williams of being an anti-fascist agitator.
Before her turn as a pro-Trump social media personality, Williams was best known for her marriage to Suggs, a longtime defensive star for the Baltimore Ravens. The pair’s sometimes-rocky relationship made headlines even after their 2015 divorce, with Williams criticizing her ex on social media. (Suggs could not be reached for comment on this story.)
By 2018, however, much of Williams’ social media presence had turned political, denouncing Barack Obama and the movement for transgender rights. Archived videos from a pair of now-deleted Instagram accounts show her promoting conspiracy theories about mass shootings and George Soros. By the time one of her accounts was banned that year, Williams had a high enough profile to land a spot on a conspiracy-friendly podcast to discuss her Instagram ban.
But even with her pro-Trump credentials, Williams found herself in conflict with other Trump supporters outside the Capitol, footage shows. One of those disputes, partially filmed, appears to have begun when rioters surrounded a not-yet-breached Capitol door. (The Capitol had previously been breached from another door.)
Off-screen, Williams can be heard arguing with people who want to enter the building. “The people you want are not in there,” she shouts. People nearby respond with alarm.
“She has a knife and a taser,” someone announces.
“Put the knife away,” another calls out. “Are you crazy?”
“That’s the scariest person of the day right there. Some lady with a knife. She’s freaking out.”
Another video, which captures the end of the dispute, shows Williams holding a large, double-bladed folding knife.
In a video four days after the Capitol attack, Williams told another pro-Trump vlogger that she’d gotten in an argument with men in Trump hats who wanted to enter the building.
“I told them, ‘No, stop telling people that. The people you want are gone. They took them down to underground tunnels or whatever,’” Williams recalled. “He said, ‘Shut up, bitch.’ When he said, ‘Shut up, bitch,’ he then proceeds to jump down and get in my face.”
Williams said the man took a swing at her. “When he did that, I decided, as I should have because I’m a woman—now mind you, I had my gun, I had a knife, and I had throw knives. When he swung on me, I decided to pull out Bessie,” she said in the Jan. 10 video, taking out the same folding knife.
Reached for comment this week, Williams told The Daily Beast she was not carrying a gun on Jan. 6, only a knife.
The argument—one of two Williams was filmed engaging in that day—was prophetic of conservative infighting and blame-casting over the Jan. 6 riot. As the day’s events devolved into chaos, some Trump fans blamed the riot on anti-fascists and Black Lives Matter protesters. (Investigations, including hundreds of criminal cases, do not support the idea that leftists were secretly behind the Capitol attack.)
Williams claimed in her Jan. 10 video, and in messages to The Daily Beast, that the men she argued with were undercover antifa. She also claimed in the Jan. 10 video that the people who broke into the Capitol were antifa, that she had filmed their faces but that the government had deleted the video from her phone, and that the congressional proceedings inside the Capitol were actually pre-recorded.
Fellow Trump fans made similar allegations about Williams, during and after the event. She said the crowd accused her of being with Black Lives Matter—notable because Williams was among a small minority of Black women in attendance that day.
“When I pulled my blade out, 75 MAGA supporters ran at me with bats, with poles, with water bottles, calling me a ‘welfare queen, antifa, Black Lives Matter thug,’” Williams said in the Jan. 10 video. (The Daily Beast has not been able to verify this claim. Audio from one of her disputes reveals a man shouting a sexist slur at her.) “They called me a ‘Black, ghetto, antifa welfare queen.’ I could have sworn I made $240,000 after taxes a year, but whatever.”
The report from the Stop The Steal movement, which specifically accused Williams of being an “agitator,” went further.
“What group is this agitation cell affiliated with?” the report asked of Williams and seven other people. “Who do they work for? Why are they all wearing heavy equipment and coordinating in a trained formation? Why did they sabotage the Stop the Steal event and wave people away from the permitted Lot 8 event before organizers had a chance to get there?”
Stop The Steal and Alexander did not return requests for comment. Alexander, one of the primary organizers of the pre-riot rally, has blamed various pro-Trump factions, from Williams to “Women For Trump,” for the Capitol attack.
Williams told The Daily Beast that Alexander was wrong about her.
“Not antifa,” she wrote in an Instagram message on Thursday. As proof, she took a picture of herself in front of a Trump flag and a Trump T-shirt, both of which were hanging on her wall.
Williams said law enforcement had not contacted her. “Hopefully they won’t because I ain’t do shit,” she said when asked about an FBI tweet with a picture of her holding the knife.
The @FBI continues to seek individuals involved in the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. If you have seen the person in these photos, visit https://t.co/iL7sD5efWD to share information. Reference photo 251 when you leave a tip. pic.twitter.com/DTzCGuqYPy
— FBI (@FBI) March 7, 2021
She said she brought the knife to the Capitol “because a female by herself should never be unarmed.”
In her Jan. 10 video, she claimed that the knife nearly became a deadly weapon after she found herself in an argument.
“The only thing that stopped me from killing anyone that day, because I was ready to kill everybody, was this old white man and white woman,” who trusted her side of the story, she said. “They were crying. They held my hands with the blade in my hands and were crying, telling me that I am special, that God told them that I am special and that I need to calm down because I am special. They started praying for me, crying over me, praying. That’s the only thing that stopped me from killing somebody out there.”
Still, the day’s events soured her outlook on some fellow Trump supporters, she said.
“But MAGA, I don’t fuck with the movement anymore. I fuck with real patriots and I consider myself a Proud Girl because at the end of the day, MAGA ain’t helped shit. MAGA was going to fight me and basically called me a ghetto-ass Black bitch because I protected myself against a fucking antifa member that was dressed with Trump shit.”
She added that she still supported Trump.
However, “I will say this: He ain’t incite them riots, but why call us out there?” Williams said of Trump. “Why call us out there for no new shit? If we were never out there in the first place, motherfucking antifa and Black Lives Matter couldn’t infiltrate.”