The leader of a convoy of truck drivers arrested in the district

The leader of a convoy of truckers who protested by driving slowly around the ring road was arrested in the district on Wednesday morning after the group drove vehicles down a street off the National Mall.

DC police say David Riddell is wanted on a warrant from Maryland.

Maryland State Police charged Riddell, 57, a truck driver from Ohio, with disorderly conduct, disobeying a lawful police order and deliberately driving a vehicle at a slow speed “impeding the normal and reasonable circulation”.

The group was called the “people’s convoy”. A small group split off and renamed the “1776 Restoration Movement” and drove down highways 495 and 270 on July 4, slowing traffic.

According to charging documents filed in Montgomery County, Maryland, District Court, a state trooper found several trucks stopped in the southbound lanes of I-270 in Gaithersburg Monday morning. Drivers honked and waved as traffic backed off half a mile, police said.

Charging documents indicated that the drivers were directing the soldier to a tractor-trailer led by Riddell leading the way. Police said he set a timer for 10 minutes and told them that was when the trucks planned to resume their journey. The trooper took Riddell’s information from his Ohio driver’s license and warned him that he could be cited or arrested.

Shortly after the soldier returned his license to Riddell, according to the documents, the deadline expired. The trucks then drove south on I-270 at speeds of around 40 mph, before turning around and heading north on I-270 and out of the county.

Authorities said in the charging documents that state police learned from social media that Riddell was staying at a camp in West Virginia, which is not considered a fixed address. Police said they issued an arrest warrant because with no fixed address for Riddell, they had no way of sending him the charges and court orders.

Riddell’s Hillsboro, Ohio address is listed on the warrant. As of Wednesday afternoon, court records do not show that Riddell appeared before a court commissioner, and it appears he remained in custody. No lawyer is listed for him in court documents, and efforts to reach him and relatives did not succeed.

It was not immediately possible to determine how many trucks were in the district. DC police have not commented beyond confirming the arrest, which they say was the only one made in connection with the protest.

The truck convoy returns to the DC area. Here’s what you need to know.

The group was began protesting coronavirus vaccination mandates but expanded its list of right-wing grievances. For weeks earlier this year, the “people’s convoy” drove around the ring road almost daily and briefly entered DC, staying mostly on the interstates. The group left at the end of March after being closely followed by the police, who sometimes blocked the entrances to the city.

But Riddell vowed to be more aggressive when the group returns to the nation’s capital. On social media app Telegram, members said they regretted the way the protests unfolded in March and issued calls in May for “civil disobedience”.

On Wednesday, several people driving trucks converged on a street alongside the mall. An attendee streamed the encounter on live stream video that showed a man who appears to be Riddell in handcuffs.

The unnamed person said police were ordering the truck off the street to enforce a no parking zone, although the truckers could not locate a sign specifically prohibiting trucks.

DC police officers briefly formed a line as truckers yelled at them and claimed one of the protesters was injured when she fell from a truck during a confrontation with law enforcement. A deputy police chief at the scene confirmed that a woman received medical attention after a fall, but did not provide further details of the encounter.

“We did nothing wrong,” one of the truck drivers shouted at the officers. “There are no signs indicating that there are no trucks.” The man called the officers “cowards” and vowed to stay on the street until the tow trucks arrived.

“There should be freedom in the United States,” the man shouted.

Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.

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