Federal authorities arrested an Ohio pastor Wednesday for his alleged role in the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021.
Bill Dunfee was arrested on felony charges of interfering with a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding, in addition to five misdemeanors. Dunfee serves as the pastor at the New Beginnings Ministries Warsaw and used the pulpit to express the baseless belief that Joe Biden stole the 2020 election.
The FBI stated that it began its investigation into Dunfee in February 2021, the month after supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the formal counting of the electoral votes showing that Biden had won. The bureau added that Dunfee confirmed his attendance to the FBI in a March 2021 phone call, and it received additional tips that summer about his role.
According to the criminal complaint, Dunfee spoke about the election during a sermon on Dec. 27, 2020, saying, “The Government, the tyrants, the socialists, the Marxists, the progressives, the RINOs, they fear you. And they should. Our problem is we haven’t given them reason to fear us.”
Dunfee added, “As I said earlier in another previous sermon is this: They used to tell us, you know what, you settle your differences at the ballot. How did that work out for us? It’s not over.”
The Justice Department alleges that Dunfee illegally entered the Capitol grounds with a bullhorn that he used to say, “We are taking our house.” As some of the insurrectionists dispersed on the afternoon of Jan. 6, Dunfee told them, “Mission accomplished,” and replied “Hallelujah” to a fellow rioter who said, “We did it, we shut ’em all down. We did our job.”
Dunfee spoke about his experience during a May 2021 sermon, saying, “We show up January 6th at the Capitol Building right? To let it be known that we are not going to stand back and let an election be stolen. That we are going to hold our legislators accountable, and so on and so forth? And what did that get us? Huh? We are all deemed what? Huh? Bunch of terrorists, right?”
“I can tell you, having been there [at the Capitol], that um, we were surrounded by patriots,” Dunfee added. “Many, many, many, many patriots. And I thank God they showed up to just to let it be known, that you know, what the bottom line is this, that you are not stealing this election. You’re not going to rob us, deprive us of a democracy, of a republic, without us being heard.”
Dunfee was expected to make his first appearance in court in the Southern District of Ohio on Wednesday.
Nearly 900 individuals have been arrested for their roles in the events of Jan. 6. The House committee investigating Jan. 6 was planning to have an additional hearing last week but postponed it due to Hurricane Ian. Members of the far-right Oath Keepers militia are currently being tried on a number of charges, including seditious conspiracy.