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Virginia school board member arrested on Jan. 6 riot charges

A school board member in Frederick County, Va., who has faced calls to resign over his presence inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was arrested Tuesday and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct during the riot.

Miles Adkins, 40, was elected in 2021 and has repeatedly come under fire from some parents for making offensive comments online and comparing other school board members to the devil and Adolf Hitler.

Adkins was among the first people to breach the Capitol on Jan. 6 and went on to help others get inside through doors and windows, according to charging documents filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington. In Facebook messages included in the court filings, he bragged about drinking “fireball and a coors lite” inside the building. As he left about an hour later, prosecutors say, Adkins chanted, “Let’s go get a beer!”

In court Tuesday, a judge in Charlottesville released Adkins on the condition that he not drink “excessively.” He is scheduled to appear in federal court in D.C. next week to enter a plea.

Adkins could not be located Wednesday for comment. Scott Sturdivant, the school board president, referred questions to a spokeswoman for the school system, who said in a statement that Frederick County officials “are aware of the allegations involving Mr. Adkins.” But she said the school system will continue to “focus on … our primary goal, which is to foster the growth and well-being of our students.”

School board member Frank Funes said he was unaware of the charges against Adkins but described all prosecutions related to the Capitol riot as “a travesty of justice.”

“These people didn’t do anything wrong,” Funes said, referring to the mob of supporters of President Donald Trump who stormed the Capitol while Congress was meeting to formally count electoral votes and certify Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential race. If Trump succeeds in regaining the White House this year, Funes predicted, people accused of taking part in the mayhem “will be exonerated.”

Eric Reifinger, who ran against Adkins in 2021, said the board member’s apparent willingness to breach the Capitol is alarming for someone in a position of leadership. “It’s concerning that he is making policy decisions and financial decisions,” he said.

Reifinger said he was not surprised by Adkins’s arrest. In 2022, online sleuths identified Adkins as having been in the Capitol on Jan. 6, and photos of him in the building have been circulating locally ever since. At the time, Adkins said in a statement that “this most recent attack” on him “has absolutely nothing to do with January 6th, and like the previous attacks, it has everything to do with trying to silence and intimidate me.”

He was referring to complaints about his social media activity from some parents and the local NAACP branch, for which Reifinger serves as education committee lead.

Adkins had circulated a video showing other members of the school board with devil horns and Adolf Hitler-style mustaches for supporting a pandemic mask requirement in schools. (He apologized at the time, saying he did not make the video himself.) That led parents and local civil rights groups to resurface comments he had made on Facebook before becoming a school board member.

In one, from 2015, he said he was “do[ing] my part Black History Month” by posting a picture of an offensive ad that included blackface and a racial slur. In another, from 2018, he suggested David Hogg, a survivor of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was a liar. That same year, after Trump announced his policy of separating migrant families at the U.S. border, Adkins wrote: “Warning: Illegally entering the United States may cause separation anxiety.” He added, “you don’t get to break the law just because you brought your kids with you.”

Adkins has a criminal record predating Jan. 6. Before his election, he was found guilty in Florida of leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. After joining the school board in 2022, he was charged with public intoxication in Prince William County, Va., and paid a $25 fine. Last year he was accused of driving while intoxicated in Loudoun County; he told the Winchester Star he was texting, not drunk, and the charge was amended to reckless driving.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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