Capitol Hill chiropractor David Walls-Kaufman charged in Jan. 6 riot

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A DC chiropractor with an office on Capitol Hill has been arrested and charged with participating in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot — but not assaulting law enforcement, as Widow of a DC cop in a trial.

David Walls-Kaufman, 65, was arrested Wednesday night in Crofton, Md., and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct. In court papers, an FBI agent said Walls-Kaufman was identified in a lawsuit filed by Erin Smith, the wife of DC police officer Jeffrey Smith, whose suicide nine days after the riot was found dead in the line of duty.

The criminal complaint says Walls-Kaufman “engaged in a fight with law enforcement officers” inside the Capitol, but says nothing about an assault outside the building, where Smith was been struck with a heavy metal object.

The civil action, which is pending, says online sleuths identified Walls-Kaufman and another man as Smith’s attackers last year. The criminal complaint filed Thursday references those detectives, though it does not mention Smith’s name.

According to the lawsuit, Walls-Kaufman struck Smith with the officer’s baton while Smith’s face was exposed and vulnerable. The original lawsuit described the object used to assault Smith as a heavy cane or a crowbar; it was recently edited to include photos from Smith’s body camera, which the suit says shows the officer being hit with his own baton.

Through a lawyer, Walls-Kaufman responded to the suit in saying he “specifically denies assaulting Officer Smith”. The attorney did not return requests for comment on Walls-Kaufman’s arrest. The other man identified in the lawsuit has not been charged with a crime.

Smith’s family said he suffered an undiagnosed traumatic brain injury, leading him to take his own life. According to court records from the trial, he lost consciousness during the riot and suffered severe pain in its wake. A man who had no mental health problems in the past could no longer concentrate or sleep, according to his lawyer and his wife; he committed suicide the day he was to return to work.

In March, the DC Police and Firefighters Retirement and Relief Board awarded Smith’s wife a full pension, ruling her injury on January 6 to be “the sole and direct cause of her death”. The decision came after months of advocacy by Erin Smith and members of Congress.

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David P. Weber, who represents Erin Smith, said the widow “thanks the Department of Justice for this first step.” Weber said Smith is “waiting for word” on whether charges will be brought against a second man identified in the civil lawsuit who Weber said also assaulted the officer, as well as a third man who was not identified and who is seen in photos swinging a metal pipe. .

The attorney said Smith “understands and respects the complexity of the charging decisions and is hopeful that more charges will be announced.”

Weber said Smith intended to attend Thursday night’s House committee meeting on the Jan. 6 attack and was in discussions with congressional staff to testify at a future hearing.

Devlin Barrett and Clarence Williams contributed to this report.

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