Video report by ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo
A woman who stormed the US Capitol last week wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with an alt-right slogan has been identified by ITV News as a 22-year-old care worker from Pennsylvania.
Riley Williams, who was one of a small number of women to have illegally entered the buildings during the Washington DC siege, attracted attention after she was filmed apparently directing rioters “up the stairs, up the stairs”.
In separate interviews, her mother and father rejected claims that she was not giving orders to the rioters, insisting she was a peaceful protester who got lost in the crowd.
“She’s definitely not a leader,” said Wendy Williams, her mother. "I just think, I know there was another woman beside her also doing it, I think she was like ’they’re letting us up, they’re letting us up, let’s go'. She’s a 22-year-old who, like I said, is very empathetic and loving".
But Riley Williams fled the home she shares with her mother 130 miles from Washington DC late on Friday, without disclosing where she was going. Her mother said even though nine days had passed since the riot, her daughter had not been contacted by the FBI or police investigators and had no intention of handing herself in.
“Well she figures if it’s out there they’ll come to her and ask her about it," she said.
Identifying the slender woman filmed by ITV News inside the US Capitol as her daughter, she said: “I’m very unhappy, I’m sad that’s happened, that she’s actually inside, that’s what the video shows”.
Her ex-husband, Riley's father, said he took her to the rally with two family friends simply to "witness the spectacle”. He does not want to be identified but claims she became separated from him during the afternoon of January 6 as the crowd pushed forward and was simply “going with the flow”. He says he is certain she had no intention of joining the violence.
Watch Robert's report from Washington DC in full here:
"She goes to rallies," Wendy Williams confirmed, claiming she has avoided discussing politics with her daughter since she started associating with far right figures.
"She never, ever talks about them or agrees with them, it’s all about just wanting America to get the correct information."
She said her daughter became interested in the ‘America First movement’ a year ago, but was shocked to see her inside the US Capitol.
She had become concerned about her growing interest in politics, which led to her attending several pro-Trump rallies. She said she was unaware that Riley had become a vocal figure in some far-right forums.
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