"We have found a purpose in life and we know what must be done," Ricky C. Willden wrote on the Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo on a page that raised $1,300 for 13 Proud Boys to travel from California to Washington DC for the Jan. 6 rally, according to a report in the Washington Post. He signed off: "We are no longer Standing By! God bless America!"
In DC, the 39-year-old Willden joined a mob at the east door of the Capitol and cheered as the doors open, according to the US Justice Department, which announced his arrest today. As rioters surged towards the door, public video shows Willden "raising his hand and spraying an unknown substance from a green can toward police officers who were standing guard," according to the government.
Willden, a 39-year-old resident of Oakhurst in the eastern foothills of Madera County, is charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers, and acts of violence in the Capitol building or grounds. He was expected to make his initial court appearance on Wednesday afternoon in the Eastern District of California.
Willden's LinkedIn page indicates that he works as a regional manager at GoldenState Insurance Services in Chowchilla.
Before joining a mob that attacked police at the Capitol, Willden had a history of clashing with antifascists on the West Coast.
A videoposted by an antiracist Twitter account shows Willden trying to pick a fight with a Black Lives Matter protester at an LAPD Appreciation Rally at Elysian Park in Los Angeles on Oct. 17, 2020.
After officers break up the fight, Willden, who is wearing a Proud Boys shirt, can be heard making homophobic and misogynistic insults. The speaker's face in the video clearly matches Willden's photo on his LinkedIn profile.
In another video published by ABC7 News, Willden can be seen wearing the same Proud Boys shirt during a clash between Proud Boys and antifascists during a rally to support Donald Trump at the state capitol in Sacramento on Nov. 14.
As described by reporter Dan Noyes, Sacramento police and California Highway Patrol officers on horses and in riot gear kept black-clad antifascists and Trump supporters separated for much of the rally.
"Then, the Proud Boys came around the block to confront the counter-protesters, unleashing a cloud of bear spray," Noyes reported.
Video shows Willden dressed in a black Proud Boys shirt and tan khaki pants shoving an antifascist wearing a helmet and holding a shield, and later grabbing a man by his jacket and maneuvering around him, before appearing to lunge at another person just off camera.
To date, almost 30 members of the Proud Boys, a nationalistic street gang that promotes "Western chauvinism" as a soft cover for white supremacy, have been arrested in connection with the assault on the Capitol. Among them, four face conspiracy charges alleging a coordinated effort to disrupt the certification of the electoral vote and peaceful transfer of power.
Trump Rally turns violent in Sacramento as Proud Boys, Antifa face off www.youtube.com