| Pensacola News Journal
The second Pensacola man arrested on federal charges relating to the U.S. Capitol riots has been released from custody as he awaits further court hearings.
Tristan Chandler Stevens, 25, is charged with a slew of offenses for his alleged involvement in the insurrection Jan. 6 at the Capitol.
In court Wednesday, the prosecution showed a four-minute video excerpt that depicted what appeared to be Stevens grabbing ahold of a federal officer’s riot shield and baton in an area of the Capitol building that day.
Although there was not any footage shown openly in court about other allegations, Jeffrey Tharp, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Florida, said there is more evidence submitted to the court showing Stevens left and returned to the mob multiple times as the group attempted to breach the Capitol to halt proceedings to confirm incoming President Joseph Biden.
In a detention hearing at the U.S. Courthouse in Pensacola on Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Hope Cannon found that despite the apparent violence shown by Stevens in the video, he was not a flight risk or community risk and he should be released to await further court proceedings.
Stevens is a full-time University of West Florida computer engineering student without any criminal history. His defense attorney, Randall Lockhart, referenced the ongoing impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, insinuating that the former president incited the violence.
The video in court showed what appeared to be a very crowded hallway in which law enforcement officers in riot gear were pushed up against a wall, unable to move, as rioters grabbed at their protective equipment such as shields and batons. Some chanted “freedom” as they attempted to push farther into the building.
Cannon said though the video is a “serious” incident, it appears to be isolated and noted Stevens has no criminal history.
Stevens is the second Pensacola man to be arrested in relation to the Capitol riots. Jesus D. Rivera, was taken into custody Jan. 20 and remains on bond while his case proceeds in federal court.
He is accused of breaching the Capitol and faces a slew of charges similar to Stevens. Investigators in his case referenced a series of social media posts in which Rivera appeared to be inside the building.
Rivera was not deemed a flight risk so he was granted pretrial release without having to post bond.
Stevens will need to remain on a GPS monitor and remain in the North Florida area unless instructed to travel to Washington, D.C., for court proceedings.
Both Stevens’ and Rivera’s cases will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia.
Emma Kennedy can be reached at email@example.com or 850-480-6979.
— to www.pnj.com