INDIANAPOLIS — The hundreds of pictures and videos showing Wednesday's assault on the nation’s capital are more than shocking. They are evidence for investigators working to identify the rioters and bring criminal charges against them.
The angry mob that performed the unthinkable, breaking into the U.S. Capitol, endangering lives and ransacking the place, apparently weren't thinking when they showed off or smiled for the cameras. Their pictures are plastered all over social media and the evening news.
"That is going to be a treasure trove of information," said Doug Kouns, a retired FBI Special Agent and founder of Veracity IIR, a Carmel-based investigative and security consulting agency. "You have beautiful evidence of people violating the law and identifying themselves."
Facial recognition software may help investigators put names to many of the faces. According to Kouns, the FBI has a database of 600 million images to compare them to.
The Washington Metropolitan Police Department is going old school. It's posting the pictures of dozens of rioters and offering thousand-dollar rewards for names.
The FBI is on Twitter asking for more information, videos and pictures.
How difficult is it going to be to track down these people?
"Some will be pretty easy to identify," Kouns said.
One man was photographed while wearing his work ID. According to his employer, he was fired.
"Some of the more blatant people,” Kouns explained, "the guy who's feet were on the desk, the guy with the Viking helmet, the guy carrying the podium around, those guys have already been identified."
Identifying rioters who kept their backs to the cameras, stayed in big crowds or wore face masks will be difficult, but Kouns is confident.
"You are going to get a knock on the door from one of my colleagues," he promised. "It is not going to be as funny then."