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North Texas woman charged with assaulting officers, media at Jan. 6 Capitol riot

A North Texas woman was arrested on charges including assaulting law enforcement and members of local media during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said in a news release Thursday.

Dana Jean Bell, 65, of Princeton, was charged in a criminal complaint with felony offenses of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers and obstruction of law enforcement during a civil disorder. She is also charged with multiple misdemeanors including knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in the Capitol grounds or buildings; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.

Bell was arrested Thursday in Princeton and made her initial appearance in the Eastern District of Texas.

According to court documents, open-source video footage and other evidence identified Bell among a crowd of rioters inside the restricted area of the Capitol grounds and inside the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. She was sometimes seen carrying a purple backpack, a gray knit winter hat, an American flag and a cell phone with a cover featuring an American flag backdrop and images of former President Donald Trump, according to the release.

In a video publicly posted on social media, Bell is seen assaulting a member of the local D.C. media. In the video, an “angry” group of rioters yelled at members of the media and called them “traitors” and “fake news,” and told them to “get out,” the release states. They used expletives and “flipped off” the camera crew. In the same video, Bell aggressively attempted to push or grab at a media member, the release says.

She also assaulted another member of the media who stepped in to intervene, authorities allege. After the second assault, Bell turned to the first member of the media and kicked that person in the legs, according to the release.

After the alleged assault, Bell made her way to the Capitol building and pushed her way to the rotunda doors, which were being actively protected by law enforcement, authorities said. As officers attempted to keep a door to the Capitol closed to prevent further breach, Bell attempted to pull that door open, the release says, just before successfully entering the building.

In another video posted publicly on social media, within a minute of the rioters’ attempted breach of the Speakers’ Lobby at the Capitol, rather than comply with officers’ orders for the crowd to disperse or back up so they could render aid to an injured rioter, Bell instead approached the officers, aggressively yelled at them, and showed them her middle finger, according to the release.

Bell was also captured on body-camera footage, where she is seen acting aggressively and uttering threats or insulting language very close to officers’ faces, according to the release. At one point in the footage, she is heard calling a police officer a “(expletive) traitor” and other expletives. She is also heard telling officers, “Do not touch me,” while she resisted and pushed back against officers as she was forced to exit the Capitol. She also told a police officer “y’all suck” while flipping her middle finger in the officer’s face, according to the footage.

During the same confrontation, Bell grabbed an officer’s baton and actively resisted and pushed against an officer while speaking aggressively toward them, the release says. She exited the Capitol building after spending approximately 30 minutes inside, authorities said.

The case 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.

This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Dallas and Washington Field Offices. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas assisted in the case.

In the 35 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,230 people have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 440 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.