Nick Crenshaw, 34, of Louisiana, tells NATIONAL FILE that he was interrogated at his home by two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents after facial-recognition software confused him with a protester who was inside the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 protest. Crenshaw attended President Trump’s speech at the rally peacefully but never went inside the Capitol. “I got interviewed by the FBI just for being in Washington,” Nick Crenshaw told NATIONAL FILE.
Nick Crenshaw, a hotel worker, traveled alone to Washington, D.C. to attend President Donald Trump’s speech at the January 6 protest in Washington, getting in line early to get a good spot. After the speech, Crenshaw returned to his hotel, where he saw on television a crowd forming around the Capitol including on the steps. Without knowing that people had breached the Capitol building, Crenshaw returned to the area and took photographs from the inaugural stands for about a half hour until tear gas was fired into the crowd and a recording of President Trump’s voice reverberated from a megaphone telling people to disperse. Crenshaw returned to his hotel. He never entered the Capitol building or engaged in any violence. But his experience was only just beginning. FBI agents then showed up multiple times to the condo that he owns.
“I worked overnight Thursday night, and I got a knock on the door. I was sleeping. I wasn’t dressed,” Crenshaw told NATIONAL FILE, referring to his first visit from an FBI agent. “Last Monday, the same (FBI agent) knocked on the door with another guy, so I put on some clothes real quick and they were already down the walkway and were already looking in my car. That’s when the guy showed me his badge.” Crenshaw said he believed the agents were from the FBI’s New Orleans office.
Crenshaw said the agents played the good cop-bad cop routine, with one of them claiming to be a Trump supporter in an effort to get Crenshaw to talk.
“The other guy was a Middle Eastern guy and I got the feeling that he was trying to be the good cop. He was saying how his daughter doesn’t speak with him because he supports Trump, and he mentioned how Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioted and nothing happened to them. I thought he was trying to get me to open up more,” Crenshaw said.
“They mentioned the facial recognition tagged me,” Crenshaw said, and the agents showed him a photograph of a young man with somewhat similar-looking facial hair who was inside the Capitol.
“I didn’t think it looked like me. He was obviously a lot younger than I was. I think that was a way for them to get to the front door and speak with me. I don’t know if they actually thought it was me. Once they confirmed that it wasn’t me in the photo they got more into personal questions. They asked if I’m affiliated with any groups, or if I coordinated with anyone. I said I went up (to Washington) on my own and told them I thought it would be a historic day,” Crenshaw said. “I work at a hotel. I’m a hard worker. I want to get ahead in life. I thought it would be a cool day and a good day for the president.”
“I said I’m anti-violence. I didn’t even know people had gotten inside the Capitol and were fighting with police. He looked at me and laughed and said, “YOU’RE anti-violence?” The way he said it confused me. I thought, Did I ever say something on social media in the heat of the moment to suggest I was not anti-violence? That’s what gave me pause, that maybe they were following me, or tracking my social media usage,” Crenshaw said. “They asked if I own any weapons. One of the last questions, he asked me where I worked and he wrote it down. We shook hands. He left.”
Crenshaw now wonders whether it’s worth it to attend any political rallies. He chose to speak out to NATIONAL FILE so that people will know that we now live in a modern “surveillance state.”
The FBI investigations into the Capitol protest continue nationwide.