Boise woman charged in connection with Jan. 6 Capitol riot
Rebecca Boone, Associated Press
BOISE (AP) — An Idaho woman has been charged with four misdemeanors after prosecutors said she participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by loyalists of then-President Donald Trump.
Like many other defendants who have been charged in connection with the siege, Pam Hemphill of Boise posted videos to social media sites that showed her in Washington, D.C., in the days surrounding the insurrection and at the Capitol when it was happening.
In one video, she compared breaking windows at the federal building to actions protesters at the Idaho Statehouse had taken months earlier. In another, she said she avoided getting into trouble after being found inside the Capitol by telling police that she became lost after being pushed into the building by the crowd. The videos were later removed.
Hemphill was an early and avid member of People’s Rights, a far-right organization launched by antigovernment activist Ammon Bundy, though she has distanced herself from the group in more recent online videos, now also removed from YouTube.
The People’s Rights organization actively encouraged members who were planning to attend a pro-Trump rally on the day of the insurrection to use the event as a recruiting tool.
People’s Rights members were also part of a large group that protested at the Idaho Statehouse during a special legislative session in August 2020. In that case, angry protesters forced their way into an Idaho House gallery with limited seating, shattering the window of a door in the process.
Bundy, who is running for Idaho governor in a crowded Republican primary, later said his Idaho protests may have inspired those involved in the Washington, D.C., siege.
Hemphill made her first court appearance Tuesday in a federal courthouse in Boise, Idaho. She is charged with violent entry or disorderly conduct; entering a restricted building or grounds; engaging in disorderly conduct in a restricted building; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. All of the charges are misdemeanors.
In an sworn statement filed with the federal case, FBI agent David Shumway said tipsters sent the FBI screenshots from Hemphill’s Facebook page of several posts, including one in which she encouraged people to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6, saying the event wasn’t going to be a fun rally but rather a war. Another post included a photo of Hemphill holding a large firearm and said she was on her way to Washington.
The FBI agent also said security camera footage from inside the Capitol showed Hemphill inside the building during the insurrection and later being removed from the building by police.
Hemphill has not yet had an opportunity to enter a plea. She is being represented by a federal public defender, who didn’t immediately respond to an email requesting comment on the case.
Hemphill is the fifth Idaho resident to be charged in connection with the insurrection.