A New Hyde Park man was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly leading a group of rioters inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Eric Gerwatowski, 31, allegedly pulled one of the doors open that Capitol Police had closed to try and keep rioters out last year, officials said. Once Gerwatowski opened the door, according to a press release from the department, he turned to the crowd behind him and yelled “Let’s go!” as he began to direct rioters inside the building.
Gerwatowski was scheduled to make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, but efforts to reach law enforcement officials or Gerwatowski’s lawyer for comment were unavailing.
More than 725 people from nearly every state have been arrested for various crimes related to the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol Building, officials said.
On Friday, the Republican Party declared that the breach of the Capitol and the events leading up to it were “legitimate political discourse” while reprimanding Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who condemned the attack and the actions of former President Donald Trump.
A resolution passed by the party on Friday said Cheney and Kinzinger, who are members of the House commission investigating the Jan. 6 attacks, are actively “participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”
Nassau County and state Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs said “every American citizen should be outraged” about the party’s resolution.
“The Republican Party has just classified this violence on members of our nation’s law enforcement as ‘ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse,’” Jacobs said in a statement. “Apparently, the party that claims to be strongest on law and order finds violence against our law enforcement officers and the desecration of our Nation’s Capital as ‘legitimate political discourse.’”
Republican officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Assemblyman Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square) previously told Blank Slate Media that he agreed with Republican and Democratic officials that Trump’s actions incited the Capitol riots on Jan. 6. Ra also touted the need for bipartisanship and having public officials find common ground on issues rather than harking on previous elections.
“We can debate, discuss and disagree but once the votes are counted whether at the ballot box or in our legislative chambers we must respect one another and move forward as Americans,” Ra said.
In an October interview with Blank Slate Media, Nassau County Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said he believed that President Joe Biden won a free and fair election over Trump.