Difference between revisions of "Robert Keith Packer"
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Robert Keith Packer was a participant in the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol. While participating in the riot, he wore a "Camp Auschwitz" sweatshirt, was extensively photographed and videotaped and "became a figure of public infamy" both in the United States and internationally.
Robert Keith Packer is from Newport News, Virginia and previously lived in Hampton, Virginia.
He worked previously as a welder and pipe-fitter. Individuals who knew him commented that he had strong political beliefs including frustration with the United States government.
Packer has a criminal history in Virginia and has been arrested in Newport News multiple times. He had three convictions for driving under influence and one severe conviction for falsifying public records. In 2016, he was booked in York County, Virginia for trespassing. That case was dismissed.
Camp Auschwitz sweatshirt controversy
Images of his shirt went viral, and images of the man were widely published by news organisations around the world, because of its antisemitism. It was "one of the most striking photographs." His noted shirt "which makes an antisemitic mockery of the genocide" referred to the Nazi death camp, during the Holocaust, where about at least 1.1 million people were killed during World War II. Just above a skull it read arbeit macht frei in English (rough translation). In addition, the back of his hoodie also had the word "Staff" emblazoned on it.
It had drawn widespread outrage and "has evoked shock and disbelief on social media." January is a poignant month for Holocaust survivors, as many from the Auschwitz concentration camp were forced to go on death marches in January 1945 (before its liberation on January 27 of that year); this only worsened the impact of the images.
One of his neighbors reportedly said: “When you wear a T-shirt that glorifies the atrocities during WWII against the Jewish people and other people... It really hurts your heart.”
This was highlighted as other bigoted incidents were recorded. For instance, two white nationalists famous for racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric, livestreamed to their online followers after the storming of the Capitol; a video circulating on social media showing a man harassing an Israeli journalist seeking to conduct a live report outside the building, and prominent Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis were part of the Capitol mob. Some participants wore shirts bearing an acronym on the far-right standing for “6 Million Wasn’t Enough," which is a reference to the number of Jewish people who were killed in the Holocaust. And the majority of FBI terrorist watch-listed individuals participants in Washington on January 6, 2021 "are suspected white supremacists."
Packer was arrested on January 13, 2021, at the age of 56, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Norfolk Joint Terrorism Task Force in Virginia on federal charges, for his role in the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. The charges were: unlawfully entering a restricted area and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Factor of sweatshirt in arrest
The FBI affidavit made it clear that the Camp Auschwitz sweatshirt — and the heightened media attention surrounding it — played a role in its investigation, leading agents to Packer.
In the aftermath, outlets Etsy and TeeChip banned shirts similar to what Packer wore. Etsy took the first step, and banned the seller permanently. Teespring apologized the day after the riot.
- Feuerherd, Ben; Feis, Aaron (January 13, 2021). "Alleged US Capitol rioter in ‘Camp Auschwitz’ sweatshirt arrested" (in en-US). https://nypost.com/2021/01/13/alleged-capitol-rioter-in-camp-auschwitz-sweatshirt-arrested/.
- "Capitol insurrectionist seen wearing a 'Camp Auschwitz' sweatshirt has been arrested on federal felony charges" (in en-US). https://news.yahoo.com/capitol-insurrectionist-seen-wearing-camp-191332505.html.
- "Infamous Pro-Trump Rioter Dressed in 'Camp Auschwitz' Sweatshirt Arrested" (in en). January 13, 2021. https://www.mediaite.com/news/infamous-pro-trump-rioter-wearing-camp-auschwitz-sweatshirt-arrested-and-charged/.
- Devine, Curt; Bronstein, Scott (10 January 2021). "Man in 'Camp Auschwitz' sweatshirt during Capitol riot identified". https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/10/politics/man-camp-auschwitz-sweatshirt-capitol-riot-identified/index.html.
- News, A. B. C.. "Rioter seen wearing 'Camp Auschwitz' hoodie during Capitol siege among several arrested" (in en). https://abcnews.go.com/US/rioter-wearing-camp-auschwitz-hoodie-capitol-siege-arrested/story?id=75223325.
- Tom Batchelor (January 13, 2021). "Robert Keith Packer, named as Capitol rioter in 'Camp Auschwitz' top, arrested in Virginia" (in en). https://www.newsweek.com/robert-keith-packer-capitol-rioter-camp-auschwitz-arrested-1561265.
- "Capitol Rioter Photographed Wearing 'Camp Auschwitz' Shirt Is Arrested in Virginia" (in EN). https://people.com/crime/capitol-rioter-camp-auschwitz-shirt-arrested/.
- "Robert Keith Packer newport news virginia, Camp Auschwitz sweater | Mebere". https://www.mebere.com/robert-keith-packer-newport-news-virginia-camp-auschwitz-sweater.
- "Man in 'Camp Auschwitz' Hoodie Charged With Multiple Federal Crimes Including Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct on Capitol Grounds" (in en). January 13, 2021. https://lawandcrime.com/u-s-capitol-siege/man-in-camp-auschwitz-hoodie-charged-with-multiple-federal-crimes-including-violent-entry-and-disorderly-conduct-on-capitol-grounds/.
- Dujardin, Peter. "Man who wore ‘Camp Auschwitz’ shirt at Capitol riot arrested in Newport News". https://www.dailypress.com/news/crime/dp-nw-auchwitz-sweatshirt-arrest-20210113-dmcvkgbganfs5fuuu4zk7czaxi-story.html.
- "Authorities: Man in 'Camp Auschwitz' shirt at riot arrested". https://www.startribune.com/authorities-man-in-camp-auschwitz-shirt-at-riot-arrested/600010100/.
- "Capitol Rioter Wearing 'Camp Auschwitz' Hoodie Arrested, Released Without Bond" (in en). https://www.tmz.com/2021/01/13/capitol-rioter-camp-auschwitz-insurrectionist-arrested-virginia/.
- Bogel-Burroughs, Nicholas; Goldman, Adam; Benner, Katie (January 13, 2021). "Rioter wearing ‘Camp Auschwitz’ sweatshirt is arrested, according to law enforcement." (in en-US). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/13/us/politics/camp-auschwitz-rioter-arrested.html.
- "Man in 'Camp Auschwitz' sweatshirt during Capitol riot identified" (in en). https://www.kitv.com/story/43150700/man-in-camp-auschwitz-sweatshirt-during-capitol-riot-identified.
- Eddy, Melissa (January 8, 2021). "Amid the Rampage at the U.S. Capitol, a Sweatshirt Stirs Troubling Memories". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/08/world/europe/us-capitol-rampage-camp-auschwitz.html.
- George-Parkin, Hilary (January 12, 2021). "Insurrection merch shows just how mainstream extremism has become" (in en). https://www.vox.com/the-goods/22225538/capitol-insurrection-riot-sweatshirts-hats.
- "Anti-Semitism seen in Capitol insurrection raises alarms" (in en-US). January 13, 2021. https://www.dailyherald.com/article/20210113/news/301139930.
- SCHOR, ELANA. "Anti-Semitism seen in Capitol insurrection raises alarms" (in en-US). https://www.wistv.com/2021/01/13/anti-semitism-seen-capitol-insurrection-raises-alarms/.
- Adkins, Laura E.; Burack, Emily. "A guide to the hate symbols and signs on display at the US Capitol riots" (in en-US). https://www.timesofisrael.com/a-guide-to-the-hate-symbols-and-signs-on-display-at-the-us-capitol-riots/.
- "Man in 'Camp Auschwitz' sweatshirt at Capitol riot arrested" (in en). January 13, 2021. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/man-in-camp-auschwitz-sweatshirt-at-capitol-riot-arrested.
- Barrett, Devlin; Hsu, Spencer S.; Lang, Marissa J.. "Dozens of people on FBI terrorist watch list came to D.C. the day of Capitol riot" (in en-US). Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/terror-watchlist-capitol-riot-fbi/2021/01/14/07412814-55f7-11eb-a931-5b162d0d033d_story.html.
- "Man seen wearing "Camp Auschwitz" shirt during Capitol riot arrested in Virginia" (in en-US). https://www.cbsnews.com/news/camp-auschwitz-shirt-robert-packer-arrested-virginia/.
- Friedman, Gabe. "Etsy removes ‘Camp Auschwitz’ shirt from its online store" (in en-US). https://www.timesofisrael.com/etsy-removes-camp-auschwitz-shirt-from-its-online-store/.
- Puhak, Janine; News, Fox (January 12, 2021). "Etsy pulls ‘Camp Auschwitz’ shirt after Auschwitz Memorial spots item on site" (in en-US). https://nypost.com/2021/01/12/etsy-pulls-camp-auschwitz-shirt-after-auschwitz-memorial-spots-item-on-site/.
- "Online marketplace Etsy removes 'Camp Auschwitz' T-shirts from its site" (in en-US). January 11, 2021. https://www.amedpost.com/online-marketplace-etsy-removes-camp-auschwitz-t-shirts-from-its-site/.
- "Teespring apologizes for selling "Camp Auschwitz" shirts like those seen on Capitol rioters" (in en). January 11, 2021. https://www.newsweek.com/teespspring-apology-capitol-antisemitic-shirts-1560569.