A federal judge in Downstate Illinois agreed Friday to release a man allegedly seen on TikTok fighting with the National Guard during the U.S. Capitol breach, despite concerns about his past history of violence, mental health issues and failure to follow court orders.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly told Mathew Capsel, of LaSalle County, his travel would be restricted to northern Illinois and Washington, D.C., — where he faces federal charges — and that he would be placed on home detention and GPS monitoring.
When a prosecutor raised concerns about Capsel’s “pretty significant social media presence,” Capsel interjected.
“I got banned from Facebook for life,” Capsel said, adding that he’d also been banned from other social media platforms.
Federal authorities have said Capsel used the moniker “Mateo Q Capsel” online. He was arrested Tuesday and is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted area and resisting law enforcement, records show.
A former neighbor and a social media friend turned Capsel in to the FBI, according to an 11-page criminal complaint filed against him. Authorities have pointed in the case to a video recorded and posted to TikTok by a third person who also spoke to the FBI. That video depicts Capsel charging against a group of National Guardsmen, running into their protective shields and being pepper-sprayed, according to the feds.
A video like the one described could be found on Capsel’s TikTok page Wednesday, but that page was no longer accessible as of Friday.
During Capsel’s detention hearing Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey Bloodworth asked the judge to detain Capsel as a danger to the community and a flight risk. He called the Jan. 6 Capitol riot a “very volatile situation” and cited the presence there of then Vice President Mike Pence. He raised mental health concerns, said Capsel’s juvenile record includes allegations of violence and said there is a “serious history of him not following, essentially, the court’s orders.”
Bloodworth also said Capsel was on bond for violating an order of protection when he traveled to Washington earlier this month. A family member sought an order of protection against Capsel last May, accusing him of punching a car window and slapping and repeatedly pushing that person to the ground, according to records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times. Capsel was also accused by that person of “harassing and making threats” on Facebook.
Capsel’s attorney, Angela Hill, said Capsel was not aware of any restriction on his travel when he went to Washington, and she said others facing more serious allegations in connection with the Capitol riot have been released on bond. In her argument she seemed to reference, among others, Eric Munchel, of Tennessee. Munchel was accused of roaming the Senate chamber carrying plastic restraints, or zip-ties.
Though a magistrate judge in Tennessee ordered Munchel’s release, the chief judge in D.C.’s federal court halted that order last weekend pending an appeal, records show.
In Capsel’s case, the judge said she was concerned about allegations of violence in Capsel’s past, as well as his behavior under court supervision. Still, she said she thought she could release him on bond with the proper conditions.
“We’re going to give you a shot,” the judge said.