At U.S. Capitol riot, residents of Idaho were online and on ‘sacred ground’
Jacob Scholl, Idaho Statesman
Published at | Updated at
BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Treasure Valley resident Josiah Colt, who faces charges in the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, has received much attention over the events of Jan. 6, but he was not the only Boise-area resident in Washington, D.C., that day.
A Boise woman previously charged with trespassing during a local health district meeting was among those who stormed into the Capitol illegally on the day that Congress was trying to certify the Electoral College victory of President Joe Biden over former President Donald Trump.
Numerous posts on Facebook by 53-year-old Yvonne St Cyr show that she was one of the hundreds who participated in the unrest. The Idahoan filmed herself and took photos inside the Capitol, all while posting several times to social media.
A Facebook post from Jan. 6 contained the caption “Patriots are in our house” and featured a selfie of St Cyr, and another shot showed several people inside a Capitol room with an overturned table.
One Facebook Live video posted on St Cyr’s page shows the mob of people on the Capitol steps, as others inside the building are calling for “glasses and gas masks.” Shortly after, the camera flips to show St Cyr inside as she mentions the need to charge her phone.
“Super sad that this is America, and Americans are being beaten for wanting to save their country,” St Cyr said on the livestream. “So welcome to communist America …”
The riot two weeks before inauguration day left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer. The rioters, some of them armed, broke through doors, broke glass, knocked down barricades, stole items from the Senate chamber and from offices, and caused lawmakers to take cover after being evacuated.
Roughly 140 Capitol officers were injured, many of whom required hospitalization, after being overrun and attacked by the pro-Trump rioters, who had been egged on by the former president in a speech. Some in the crowd were carrying Thin Blue Line flags, which pledge support for police, while police officers were being beaten and hurt.
When reached for comment, St Cyr said in a Facebook message that she was not interested in speaking with the Statesman about what took place at the Capitol. Troy St Cyr, Yvonne’s husband, did not respond to a message over Facebook. Pictures posted on his page suggest that he, too, was on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, but do not indicate that he entered the building.
On Dec. 8, St Cyr was placed under citizen’s arrest and later taken into police custody for allegedly trespassing during a Central District Health meeting to discuss coronavirus health-safety measures. Board members considered a measure that would have mandated the wearing of masks in public and private places across the district — consisting of Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley counties. The meeting was prematurely ended due to hundreds of protesters outside the district building and others who arrived at board members’ homes.
St Cyr was arrested after she allegedly “refused to follow CDH rules” and would not leave the building, according to a news release from the Boise Police Department. St Cyr was later charged with misdemeanor trespassing.
ANOTHER IDAHO-CAPITOL CONNECTION
The St Cyrs were not the only Idahoans at the Capitol that day. Colt famously was photographed jumping onto the floor of the U.S. Senate. He then was seen sitting in the seat reserved for the vice president before later talking about his experience and posting it on social media, where he incorrectly said he had sat in U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s chair.
Colt returned to Idaho following the riot and later turned himself in to federal authorities in Boise, and apologized publicly for his actions, calling the Senate Chamber “sacred ground.” His case is currently pending and has now been linked to the cases of two other people who have been charged in the unrest.
Another Idahoan who was at the U.S. Capitol during the riot was Pam Hemphill, who has attended multiple protests in Boise.
Hemphill posted videos on YouTube and livestreamed on Facebook before and on Jan. 6, though her YouTube channel and Facebook page were later deactivated. Calls and an email to Hemphill were not returned as of Friday.
However, some videos she recorded were shared across social media, including one showing Hemphill move past a police barricade, before turning around to show police pushing back against the mob.
DC / BOISE – Capitol – 1/6/2021
Boise leads the stupid charge yet again. Pam Hemphill looks to be the first let in by DC police. pic.twitter.com/o2dnl3c1Mn
— A Friendly Dad ❤️ (@AFriendlyDad) January 12, 2021
In another video shared on Facebook, Hemphill is recording just outside of a partly shattered Capitol door. She is heard telling another man her “knees are broke” and that several people “walked over her.” She adds that she was one of the first people to pass the police barricade and later mentions the Gem State.
“We broke the same glass in Boise, Idaho,” Hemphill said to others near the damaged door. “In Boise, Idaho, we did the same thing.”
The broken glass is likely in reference to the Idaho Legislature’s special session that took place in August, as angry spectators pushed their way into the Idaho House gallery, shattering a glass door in the process. Legislators, who were meeting to address issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and November election, later permitted the spectators to stay.
After the Jan. 6 uprising, Hemphill shared some of her videos with WUSA, a CBS-affiliated TV station in Washington, D.C., and spoke with the station. WUSA reported that Hemphill indicated she “made it inside the Capitol, but she claims was pushed in and got hurt before an officer came to help her.”
The WUSA report also mentioned that people warned Hemphill about posting video of the riot online at the risk of being arrested.
QANON, OTHER CONSPIRACY POSTS
Though much of Hemphill’s digital presence is no longer accessible, some Facebook posts by the St Cyrs are still online. As of Friday, Troy St Cyr’s Facebook page was still live.
A day after the Capitol riot, the two took to Facebook Live and explained their experiences at the Capitol. Yvonne St Cyr said on the livestream that she “made CNN” when she leaned out a window and reportedly yelled “this is our house.”
“God put me in that window, so I’m assuming God put me on CNN screaming like a mad woman,” St Cyr said. “So hey, maybe I’m going to get arrested again, but I would get arrested and I would die for this country. So no regrets.”
In a second Jan. 7 livestream on Facebook, Yvonne St Cyr said she stayed in the Capitol to charge her phone, and repeated that she did not physically harm anyone. She echoed the false narrative perpetuated by Trump and his supporters that the presidential election was “stolen,” and said those who participated in the Capitol riot were “patriots” who “wanted their voices to be heard.”
More than 150 people are facing charges for their alleged involvement in the events that day, and federal officials have said that number could continue to grow.
As of Friday, Yvonne St Cyr’s Facebook page was not publicly visible. However, a post on Troy St Cyr’s page indicates that his wife was in “Facebook Jail,” meaning her page was temporarily suspended by the social media giant.
Prior to her Facebook page going offline (as of Friday it was still gone), Yvonne St Cyr shared several posts referencing QAnon, the online conspiracy theory that, among other things, claims Donald Trump was fighting a secret cabal of Democrats and Hollywood elites who eat and sexually abuse children. QAnon followers believe that “Q” — an anonymous poster on the extremist message board 8kun — is a government insider with knowledge of impending arrests of prominent Democratic Party officials and celebrities.
Predictions made by “Q” — including the anonymous entity’s first post indicating that Hillary Clinton would be arrested by authorities in 2017 — have proved to be false. Yvonne St Cyr posted several photos on her now-deactivated Facebook page about QAnon as recently as Jan. 4 and as far back as April 2020.
In other posts on Troy’s Facebook page, the St Cyrs claim that Biden is a fake president. “Stupid people seriously think he’s really the President lol,” she wrote in a Jan. 23 Facebook comment.
Biden was sworn in on Jan. 20, with former Vice President Mike Pence in attendance. Trump broke tradition by not attending and went to Florida, after continuing to make his baseless claims that there was widespread voter fraud and that the election was “stolen” from him. Biden received 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, and won the popular vote by more than 7 million.
In addition to getting Hemphill’s account of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, WUSA also used her video to show one of the country’s most visual QAnon supporters instruct people to leave the Capitol. That came after a video was released by Trump telling people to go home. That came well after Trump’s speech, and after he at first extolled the mob at the Capitol.
That man — 32-year-old Arizona resident Jacob Anthony Chansley — was photographed inside the Capitol and in the Senate Chamber, where Colt was photographed sometime that day. Chansley, also known by many as the “QAnon Shaman,” was later arrested and charged in connection with the riot.
As of Friday, the only Idahoan known to be facing charges is Colt.