A South Dakota man charged this week with storming the US Capitol last year performed rap songs about the riot in videos posted to his YouTube channel, according to federal authorities.
A relative told the FBI that Billy Knutson was a rapper who sold his music online and had a YouTube channel under the username “Playboythebeast,” an FBI agent said in a court filing. Knutson, 36, of Mitchell, South Dakota, said on social media that he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and posted photos of himself outside the building, the relative said.
One of the songs on Knutson’s YouTube channel is called “Patriots: Message To The World” and has over 60,000 views.
“We fought for all of you, and this is how you treat us?” Calling us traitors and pretending that we are not peaceful? he sang on the video, which included video clips from the riot.
Messages posted on Knutson’s YouTube channel under the username “Playboy The Beast” expressed support for the far-right Proud Boys. More than three dozen people linked to the Proud Boys have been charged with riot-related offences.
Surveillance video showed Knutson entering the Capitol by climbing through a broken window near the Senate wing doors, according to the agent. The video shows Knutson talking to other people, including police officers, and apparently using a cell phone to record footage inside the building. He exited through a series of doors after several minutes, the FBI said.
A cell phone number that Knutson used in an economic request submitted to the state of North Carolina matched the number of a cell phone that was near the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to the FBI.
A federal magistrate in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, ordered Knutson’s release after his first court appearance on Wednesday, court records show. Prosecutors did not seek his pre-trial detention.
Posts on Knutson’s YouTube channel said he moved from North Carolina to South Dakota last year.
Charges against Knutson in a criminal complaint include disorderly conduct in a capitol building and entering and staying in a restricted building or lot.
A federal public defender who represented Knutson at the hearing said he referred a request for comment to his supervisor.
More than 700 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Jan. 6 riot. Knutson isn’t the only riot defendant to record a rap song about the riot.
A Florida man, Felipe Marquez, has posted a YouTube video in which he raps about his riot experience to the tune of “It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy. with lyrics that included “We even punched the police” and “We were taking selfies”. Last month, a judge sentenced Marquez to three months of house arrest.
Antionne Brodnax, a Virginia man who raps as Bugzie le Don, pleaded guilty to riot-related charges in October and is expected to be sentenced Jan. 27. A photograph of Brodnax sitting on the hood of the police truck during the riot was on the cover of his rap album, “The Capital,” according to a Washington Post report.