MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The man whose actions at the Capitol sparked a firestorm Wednesday claims he once put out fires for a living in Memphis.
Richard Barnett, who now lives in Northwest Arkansas, lived in Memphis until the late 1990s, according to public records.
A photograph of him with his foot on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office went viral, but as of Thursday, he hadn’t been arrested.
Barnett was registered as an emergency medical technician with the state of Tennessee from 1983 to 1985. His file shows no disciplinary actions.
The Memphis Fire Fighters Association confirmed they had a former member by the name of Richard Barnett but couldn’t be sure it was the same person.
The Memphis Fire Department says its records only go back to the 1990s, and they have no Richard Barnetts in their files. Neither does the Shelby County Fire Department.
While in Memphis, Barnett racked up two DUI convictions: one in 1989 and another in 1992.
In 2002, he was arrested for DWI in Benton County, Arkansas, but the following year, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of careless and prohibited driving.
In November 2020, he attended a Stop the Steal rally in Arkansas where he endorsed doing “whatever it takes” in an interview with our sister station.
Reached by our sister station Wednesday, Barnett said he had been tear gassed and then escorted from the Capitol. He said he was hiring a lawyer but had not been arrested.