According to Indiana Public Media, Iced Earth guitarist and founder Jon Schaffer will soon be extradited to Washington D.C. for his role in the January 6th U.S. Capitol building riots. Schaffer “waived a preliminary hearing after he was charged with multiple federal crimes at this month’s insurrection at the US Capitol,” states the outlet. “According to his attorney, the US Attorney and Schaffer’s legal team mutually agreed to handle all proceedings in Washington.”
Schaffer turned himself in to police in Hamilton County around 3PM on Sunday, January 17th. FBI Indianapolis confirmed Schaffer’s arrest, stating: “Jon Schaffer, Columbus, IN, has been arrested in connection to Jan 6 incident at the U.S. Capitol. Schaffer faces 6 charges including engaging in an act of physical violence in a Capitol building. Schaffer was allegedly among rioters who sprayed Capitol police with “bear spray.””
Schaffer is charged with:
1. Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority
2. Disrupting the Orderly Conduct of Government Business
3. Knowingly Engages in an Act of Physical Violence Against any Person or Property in any Restricted Building or Grounds
4. Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building
5. Engage in an Act of Physical Violence in a Capitol Building
6. Parade, Demonstrate, or Picket in a Capitol Building
The U.S. Department of Justice has made available a ‘Statement of Facts’ document which shows the below photo collage depicting Schaffer wielding ‘bear spray.’ As per the document: “SCHAFFER was among the rioters who sprayed United States Capitol Police officers with “bear spray,” a form of capsaicin pepper spray sold by many outdoors retailers, as part of their efforts to push the officers back inside the Capitol and breach the Capitol Building themselves. SCHAFFER was photographed and captured on surveillance video carrying “bear spray” and engaging in verbal altercations with Capitol Police officers inside the Capitol Building. SCHAFFER is seen holding a clear sunglasses in one photograph, and bear spray in other photographs.”
The document goes on to declare, “The photographs show SCHAFFER in a blue hooded sweatshirt under a tactical vest with a baseball cap that reads “Oath Keepers Lifetime Member.” The “Oath Keepers” is an organization that characterizes itself as a militia of former law enforcement and military personnel and has often, as a group, urged President Trump to declare Martial Law in order to prevent the Congress from certifying the Electoral College Results.”
Iced Earth members, vocalist Stu Block, bassist/backing vocalist Luke Appleton, lead guitarist Jake Dreyer and drummer Brent Smedley, have stated that they “absolutely DO NOT condone” nor do they support “riots or the acts of violence that the rioters were involved in on January 6th at the US Capitol building.”
In a video interview uploaded by German daily newspaper Die Welt (‘The World’) conducted with Schaffer last November at a Washington, D.C. pro-Trump rally, Schaffer claimed that “a group of thugs and criminals hijacked this country a long time ago” and that they’re “messing with the wrong people.” In that same interview, he went on to say, “I think this goes beyond President Trump. President Trump is a populist. He’s not your typical Republican. He’s not establishment. He’s not going out starting wars all over the place, like they do. Which is funny—where are all the Democrats that were anti-war? There’s so much hatred for Trump, it’s just ridiculous. He’s dealing with a criminal mafia that has been in the shadows running the world, frankly, for a very long time.” You can read the full transcript of the interview here.
Recently, Century Media Records have dropped not only Iced Earth but Schaffer’s other project with Blind Guardian vocalist Hansi Kürsch, Demons & Wizards, from their official website roster.
Featured concert photo by Johnny Perilla