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Michigan man arrested for hitting police with hockey stick during Capitol breach, FBI says

Joe Guillen

Jennifer Dixon
 
| Detroit Free Press

DETROIT – A man captured on video hitting police with a hockey stick during the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol has been arrested and identified as Michael Joseph Foy, of Michigan.

Foy made his initial appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit before Magistrate Judge David Grand. He faces five federal charges, including a charge for assaulting, resisting, opposing, impeding, intimidating or interfering with an officer of the United States.

The Jan. 6 attack followed a nearby rally supporting the re-election of former President Donald Trump. The failed insurrection at the Capitol seeking to stop Congress from certifying the presidential election for Joe Biden left five people dead and sent lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence fleeing to shelter.

Foy, of Wixom, Michigan, remains in custody and is scheduled for a Monday court appearance to determine whether he should be detained while the charges are pending. Court papers in the public record Thursday did not reveal Foy’s age. 

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The FBI identified Foy after investigating social media posts and online videos, including one the New York Times posted of Foy’s alleged hockey stick attack on police.

“The video shows a large crowd of individuals gathered around an entrance to the U.S. Capitol,” reads an FBI affidavit describing the investigation into Foy. “It further shows the man with the hockey stick lifting the stick above his head and swinging down rapidly, striking an individual on the ground several times

“At no point does it appear that the individual on the ground is acting aggressively, nor does it appear that the attack is justified.”

The investigation also included photos taken by the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network, of Foy outside the TCF Center in Detroit – his arms extended with an American flag draped over his shoulders – among supporters of former President Donald Trump who protested there days after the November election while city election workers counted absentee ballots.

Foy is at least the second Michigan resident who has been charged federally for taking part in the violent Capitol takeover. Karl Dresch, 40, of Calumet, was charged last week with violent entry and other crimes.

Father’s Facebook activity helped lead authorities to Foy

The FBI identified both men after receiving tips and investigating social media activity. 

In Foy’s case, the hockey stick he carried and a Marine Corps Veteran hat were used to find him.

The FBI began investigating Foy on Jan. 10 when it received a tip via Twitter that included a photo of a man carrying a hockey stick.

Within a week, the FBI found other photos and videos of the man with the hockey stick.

Investigators eventually identified the man as Foy with help from the Facebook account of his father, Joseph Foy, the FBI affidavit reads.

Joseph Foy, of Westland, posted various pictures on Facebook that the FBI used to identify and charge his son. On Jan. 6, Joseph Foy posted a photo of a man standing in front of the Washington Monument and carrying a hockey stick draped with a Trump flag.

“Was he the guy sitting in Nancy Pelosi’s chair,” another Facebook user wrote in a comment.

“He was raised better,” Joseph Foy replied, which led the FBI to believe he was the man’s father.

The criminal complaint filed Wednesday against Michael Foy lists five federal charges: forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, or interfere with any officer of the United States; obstruction of law enforcement; aiding and abetting; obstruct, influence or impede any official proceeding of Congress; and knowingly enter or remain in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority.

Follow reporters Joe Guillen and Jennifer Dixon on Twitter: @JoeGuillen@jennbdixon

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