Jonathan Oosting, Madeline Halpert
LANSING — Federal authorities have arrested a Wixom man they contend beat police with a hockey stick during the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6.
Michael Joseph Foy is accused of attacking officers near an entrance to the Capitol during a violent clash caught on camera. He’s the second Michigan man to be arrested this week for alleged crimes during the Capitol insurrection, joining Karl Dresch of Calumet.
Both were photographed carrying flags supporting then-President Donald Trump, who spoke to supporters earlier in the day and had unsuccessfully urged Congress to block the Electoral College vote count that certified President Joe Biden’s election victory.
Investigators identified Foy by comparing video footage of the attack with Facebook posts by Foy’s dad, Joseph, according to an FBI affidavit.
Joseph Foy of Westland had posted a Jan. 6 picture of his son wrapped in an American flag, carrying a hockey stick with a Trump flag draped from it near the Washington Monument. He was wearing the “same clothing” as the attacker and, in an earlier post by his father, was pictured wearing the same Marine Corps. Veteran hat, according to the FBI.
In a statement of facts, an unidentified FBI Special Agent said the FBI initially started investigating the incident after receiving a tip on Twitter on Jan. 10 from someone who sent a photo of a man carrying the hockey stick and alleging the suspect had killed a police officer by hitting him repeatedly. The FBI agent wrote there is no evidence to support that a law enforcement official was killed.
On Jan. 10, the bureau identified video footage of the incident through a New York Times article, the agent wrote in the statement.
In the video of the Jan. 6 attack, Foy “begins striking a group of Metropolitan Police Officers assisting in the protection of the U.S. Capitol who had been knocked down and dragged into the crowd of rioters,” according to the FBI affidavit. “This attack continues for approximately 16 second until Foy is knocked down by another rioter. At that time, Foy circles back through the crowd, lowers his hood, which reveals a clear image of his face.”
Foy then “raises his hockey stick above his head in celebration and begins shouting” indistinguishable words, an unnamed FBI agent wrote in a court filing. Later, he was seen motioning and shouting to someone else in the crowd and saying “let’s go” while pointing at the Capitol. He was filmed crawling through a broken window into the building.
In the YouTube video, a man wearing a dark gray jacket can be seen repeatedly hitting someone with a blue and white hockey stick and later climbing through a broken window.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Foy was arrested Thursday in the Eastern District of Michigan on several federal charges: knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; obstruction of law enforcement; forcibly assaulting, resisting, opposing, impeding, intimidating, or interfering with a United States officer; aiding and abetting, and obstructing, influencing, or impeding an official proceeding of Congress.
At 1:49 p.m. on Jan. 6, Foy’s father, Joseph Foy, updated his Facebook cover photo to a picture of his son in a dark gray coat in front of a group of protesters at the Capitol. Two hours later, at 3:55 p.m., Joseph wrote that his son was “in no way shape or form involved in the violence” but appears to have since deleted that post.
Foy is scheduled to appear for the first time in the U.S. District Court in Detroit at 1 p.m. on Thursday.
Federal authorities arrested a second Michigan man accused of breaking into the Capitol, Dresch, on Tuesday near his Upper Peninsula home in Calumet. Among other things, he’s been charged with “obstruction of an official proceeding,” a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
On Facebook, Dresch had posted photographs from inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 — “we are in,” he wrote in an accompanying comment — and followed it up with a video just after midnight.
“antifa did not take the capitol. that was Patriots,” Dresch wrote in a since-deleted post. “I can’t guarantee there weren’t some shit birds in the crowd but what multi-million crowd can you guarantee?.don’t give them the thunder, we the people took back our house, the news is all bullshit.and now those traitors Know who’s really in charge.”
Bridge Michigan was not able to reach Dresch or Foy for comment. Federal authorities have detained both, and it’s not yet clear who will represent them in court.
Dresch, whose Facebook feed is littered with images of Confederate flag paraphernalia, sent another photograph of himself to a fellow Facebook user on Jan. 6 showing him inside the Capitol and posing with a Trump flag beside a statue of former Vice President James Calhoun, who had called slavery a “positive good.”
In one post, Dresch claimed he did not see “any violence from our people” during the insurrection, during which five people died, including a police officer.
In earlier posts, he had discussed plans to try and “stop the steal” in Washington, D.C., a reference to unsubstantiated claims of election rigging by Trump, who had encouraged Vice President Mike Pence and Congress to block the electoral college vote count that same day.
While more than 140 House Republicans voted to do so even after the Capitol was stormed, they were unsuccessful, and Congress officially certified Biden’s election win.
Dresch is the son of a former state Rep. Stephen Dresch, a Hancock Republican who died in 2006, according to The Detroit News.
Ironically, a year before his death, Stephen Dresch reportedly tipped off authorities to information about an anti-government extremist: Terry Nichols, an accomplice in the 1996 Oklahoma City bombing. He told the FBI and members of Congress about explosives that remained hidden in Nichols’ former home a decade after the bombing.
Karl Dresch appeared in federal court Wednesday for an initial hearing, where he requested a court-appointed defense attorney. U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge’s office is asking the court to keep him behind bars until trial, alleging “a serious risk that the defendant will flee and a serious risk that the defendant will obstruct or attempt to obstruct justice.”