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Republican on Maryland elections board resigns after Jan. 6 arrest

Carlos Ayala was at the front of the mob as rioters tried to breach the building and shoved his flagpole through a broken window, according to an FBI affidavit.
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The FBI identified Carlos Ayala in this photo at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia

WASHINGTON — A man arrested by the FBI this week in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has resigned as a Republican member of the Maryland State Board of Elections.

Federal authorities arrested Carlos Ayala on Tuesday and charged him with several misdemeanors and a felony count of civil disorder.

He is accused of joining the mob at the windows to the Capitol, shoving his broken flag through a broken window and waving it around while wearing a stars-and-stripes hoodie, a "Stop the Steal" button and a "grey 3M-style painter’s mask with large filters on each cheek," according to an FBI affidavit. Ayala's black flag featured the words "We the People," an M-16-style rifle and "DEFEND," court documents said.

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The flag the FBI says Carlos Ayala pushed through a window at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia

The Maryland Republican Party confirmed Ayala’s resignation.

“The MDGOP believes in the 1st Amendment and in the American principle that one is innocent until proven guilty,” Nicole Beus Harris, the chairwoman of the state GOP, said in a statement. “That said, Mr. Ayala did choose to resign because he believes that the 2024 elections process and the State Board of Elections is extremely important and should not be muddied with distraction.”

Maryland Matters first reported Ayala’s resignation, which took place Thursday morning after his arrest Tuesday.

Video of the scene, previously released in connection with other Jan. 6 cases, shows the man police say is Ayala taking his flag out of the window and moving toward the fire door. As rioters continue to try to get inside, video shows, an officer blocks the door with a police shield and grabs a black flag, ripping it off the PVC pipe flagpole it was attached to. Seconds later, the mob forces the door open and a PVC pipe is seen flying at the police line. While the flag is identical to the one the man identified as Ayala was holding seconds earlier, the CCTV video does not clearly show who threw the flagpole.

Minutes later, at 2:51 p.m., police body-worn camera video shows, the man police say is Ayala is no longer holding the flag or the flagpole.

"Join us!" Ayala allegedly says after he approaches the police line.

Ayala was with two people identified as "Witness 1" and "Witness 2"; one of those witnesses provided video from the day to the FBI that captured an exchange before Ayala approached the broken windows, according to the FBI.

"Carlos, agreement that if we hear gunfire we’ll run?" one of his companions says on video.

"Which way, towards or away?" Ayala responds.

More than 1,200 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021, and nearly 900 have been convicted of charges from unlawful parading to seditious conspiracy. Hundreds of additional rioters have been identified but not yet arrested by the FBI, and federal authorities noted ahead of the third anniversary of the attack last week that “scores” of additional cases are in the pipeline.