Army officer alleges reprisal for his account of Capitol riot response

In March of 2021, Officer Adam Newbold of the Ohio National Guard became the first member of the military to publicly admit he took part in the response to the pro-Trump rioters at the US Capitol in January 2021. In an op-ed published in NBC News, Officer Newbold said that he observed multiple security lapses and a lack of comprehensive response to the breach of the Capitol.

Subsequently, Officer Newbold filed a federal complaint alleging that he has been the target of reprisals and retaliation from his commanding officer for speaking out about his experience. In his complaint, Officer Newbold claims he was removed from his post and unexpectedly transferred to another duty station under orders from his commander, General John Harris, who was in charge of the National Guard response to the Capitol.

Officer Newbold’s complaint alleges that General Harris acted against him in direct retaliation for his “honest and accurate recounting” of his observations at the Capitol proceedings and in response to his publicly shared views. It further alleges that General Harris’s order constituted a violation of Officer Newbold’s constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom from unlawful retaliation.

For its part, the National Guard has denied the allegations, contending that Officer Newbold’s transfer was part of a larger effort to manage available personnel in Washington DC during the presidential inauguration. The matter will be referred to the Army inspector general’s office for review.