According to The Washington Post, William Robert Norwood III told a group chat of friends and family about traveling to Washington D.C. the day before the insurrection. “I’m dressing in all black,” Norwood texted the group on Jan. 5, per a federal criminal complaint filed last week. “I’ll look just like ANTIFA. I’ll get away with anything.”
After taking part in the Capitol attack, where he assaulted officers and stormed the building, Norwood allegedly told the group chat that his ruse was successful. “It worked,” he texted. “I got away with things that others were shot or arrested for.” He also sent photos of himself in a police vest that he allegedly stole from the Capitol.
On Feb. 25, authorities arrested Norwood in Greer, South Carolina, and he was subsequently charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, obstruction of justice and Congress, and theft of government property, among other charges. Federal agents cited his texts in the criminal complaint against him, which include conflicting messages where he both took credit for assaulting police and condemned antifa for the violence.
One of Norwood’s relatives reported him to the FBI, who later interviewed two of Norwood’s family members, as well as Norwood in late January, when he admitted he went to the Trump rally with his wife. He also said he was at the Capitol rotunda that day, with surveillance images showing him inside the building, wearing a camouflage jacket, red MAGA hat, and all-black clothing underneath.
“Norwood claimed that two U.S. Capitol Police officers were waving people inside and that one of the Capitol Police officers told him, ‘I’m on your side,’” the criminal complaint says. He denied attacking law enforcement officers and said he was actually helping to protect some of them.
This, however, wasn’t reflected in the text messages he sent on Jan. 7, where he claimed that he “fought four cops” and “got a nice helmet and body armor off a cop for God’s sake and I disarmed him.” He told the FBI that he only sent those messages to appear “tough.”
While Norwood and other members in the group chat blamed the violence on antifa, Norwood’s sibling disagreed. “Robbie literally bragged about pretending to be this mysterious Antifa yall go on and on about, and then you say no no REAL antifa did this,” the sibling said in a message, referring to Norwood. “Listen to yourselves.”
When Norwood alleged he had “saved several cops from being killed by antifa,” his sibling said, “You are ‘antifa’ my guy.”
Many people on the far-right believe that antifa provoked the insurrection, despite no evidence to support the claim.