U.S. Capitol rioter ‘Bigo’ Barnett reports to federal prison in Louisiana

Richard “Bigo” Barnett of Gravette surrendered Tuesday at a federal prison in Oakdale, La., to begin serving his 4½-year sentence in connection with the U.S. Capitol riot of Jan. 6, 2021.

A woman who answered the telephone at the prison at 2 p.m. said, “He just got here,” adding that she couldn’t provide additional details.

The compound has two low-security Federal Correctional Institutions — Oakdale I and Oakdale II — with an adjacent minimum-security satellite camp. The total number of inmates at Oakdale is about 2,000. All are male.

The Oakdale prison has been home to some well-known inmates, including former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Oakdale is 40 miles south of Alexandria, La.

Barnett, 63, was still listed on the federal Bureau of Prisons website as “not in BOP custody” on Tuesday night. He has been listed on the website for a couple of weeks now.

After former President Donald Trump was indicted late Tuesday in connection with the Capitol riot, Barnett posted a message on X, the internet platform formerly known as Twitter: “Today Donald Trump officially became a J6er. Welcome to the club Mr. President. #Bigowasherebiatch.”

“The indictment came more than two and a half years after a pro-Trump mob — egged on by incendiary speeches by Mr. Trump and his allies — stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in the worst attack on the seat of Congress since the War of 1812,” the New York Times reported Tuesday regarding the indictment.

Barnett was in that crowd, just there to peacefully protest, he testified during a two-week trial in January in Washington, D.C.

After deliberating for slightly over two hours, the jury found Barnett guilty on all eight charges filed against him — four felonies and four misdemeanors.

Barnett faced enhanced charges for taking a dangerous weapon — a stun gun — into the Capitol during the riot of Jan. 6, 2021. During his trial, Barnett said the stun gun was inoperable that day, possibly because he had knocked it over into the shower while the water was running the night before.

While in the Capitol, Barnett posed for photographs with his foot on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office suite. He left her a note that read, “Hey Nancy, Bigo was here, Biatch.”

The jury also found Barnett guilty of interfering with a police officer who was trying to perform his duties during a civil disorder.

Barnett has appealed his conviction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

On May 24, Barnett was sentenced to 4½ years in prison. Barnett’s attorney, Jonathan Gross, said Barnett will be given credit for almost four months that he served in the District of Columbia jail in early 2021.

After he is released from prison, Barnett will be on supervised release for three years. He was also ordered to pay $2,000 restitution.

Barnett had requested to be sent to a minimum-security prison in Yankton, S.D., which had a dog-training program.

But apparently his request couldn’t be accommodated.

U.S. District Judge Christopher R. Cooper allowed Barnett to self report to prison. Barnett had been under home detention since April 2021.

Barnett had requested to have his ankle monitor removed a few days before Tuesday, the day he was required to report to prison. Cooper ordered that the ankle monitor could be removed on Monday, but not sooner.

Throughout the trial, Barnett’s attorneys emphasized that he had committed no acts of violence on Jan. 6, 2021. They portrayed him as a family man who used the persona of the loud-mouthed Bigo Barnett when he sold antique cars.

“Bigo Barnett goes out and does Back the Blue rallies, speaks out on his political issues,” Barnett testified during his trial. “Just all around sometimes a loud mouth, but just all around just me being out in the public stating my political views; and adventurer, bull rider, hitchhiked all over Central America, falling off of volcanoes.”

Barnett is a former Memphis firefighter who sometimes showed up at outdoor rallies in Arkansas carrying what appeared to be a rifle.

He documented the road trip to Louisiana on X, the former Twitter platform.

On Monday, he posted a picture of himself by a highway sign that read “Hitchhikers may be escaping inmates.”

A caption above the photo read, “Breaking: Having removed his ankle monitor earlier in the day, alleged tier 1 domestic terrorist and ticking time bomb Richard ‘Bigo’ Barnett runs amock in the southern U.S.”

Later Monday, he posted a picture of himself standing by a sign at the Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport, widely known as a central location in the controversy over illegal drug shipments and weapons transfers during the Iran-Contra affair.

“In the 1980s, the airport was the alleged base of a massive drug smuggling, money laundering, and arms smuggling ring run by American Adler Berriman ‘Barry’ Seal,” according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

Barnett wrote a caption for his Mena airport photo, including a reference to cocaine that was found in the White House on July 2: “Just doing my part to locate the source of the Whitehouse cocaine. Ol’ boy at hanger said I just missed Bill by about 10 minutes.”

Then, on Tuesday morning, Barnett posted a photo of an artist’s statement he saw at the Alexandria Museum of Art in Louisiana: “I Stopped in the Alexandria museum on my way to self surrender, which I will be doing shortly and found this explanation of an art piece compelling.”

The sculpture, titled “Do Not Let Them Mess You Up,” was by the Iranian artist Hurieh Heravi of McKinney, Texas. It’s part of the museum’s “36th September Competition.” Heravi used “sewn and burnt fabric, beads and pins” to make the red-and-black sculpture, which is suspended from the ceiling with clear wire.

In the artist’s statement, Heravi wrote: “Do Not Let Them Mess You Up is my response to destructive Ideologies, particularly those in totalitarian and suppressive systems. I see them as contagious diseases that never reveal their danger at the time of their emergence and growth. Ideologies that are disguised under promises, lies, and deceptive slogans, begin to grow and spread all over every individual’s mind and body and the body of the society that takes control and becomes part of us. They wound us in every possible way, but since they have become us, we are oblivious to the damage they inflict on us.

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