Arkansas Capitol riot suspect dubbed ‘Caveman’ makes first court appearance

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A Conway man accused of beating a police officer with a flagpole during the riots at the U.S. Capitol just had his first federal court appearance.

This was 41-year-old Peter Stager’s initial court appearance, and it took place virtually.

Stager appeared calm and well-mannered throughout the hearing, where waived his preliminary and identity hearings, which means he will go straight to a bond hearing.

The United States government is wanting Stager to be held in jail without bond as he faces felony civil disorder charges.

A criminal complaint accuses Stager of attacking a police officer on the steps of the Capitol. Federal agents say he is just one of several people who hit the officer with objects as the officer was on the ground.

The entire attack was caught on video.

Stager was taken into custody last week after federal agents first surrounded his residence in Conway. He later surrendered at a lawyer’s office.

Court documents show Stager claimed he thought the officer was a member of antifa, however, FBI investigators noted the officer clearly had the word “police” across the back of his uniform.

The bond hearing is scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m., where federal authorities will argue why he should be held in jail as the defense will argue for bond.

Another Arkansas man facing federal charges tied to the riot, 60-year-old Richard Barnett of Gravette, had a bond hearing last Friday.

A federal judge in Fayetteville originally set Barnett’s bond at $5,000. Barnett looked to be set to go to his home under house arrest, but then a second federal judge out of Washington D.C. reversed that order.

Barnett is currently in federal custody in Washington.

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