March 15, 2023

Princeton University Student Charged in January 6 Capitol Riot

By Anne Levin

A student from Princeton University’s class of 2023 has been arrested in connection with the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Larry Fife Giberson, a politics major from Manahawkin, was charged March 14 with civil disorder, a felony, and related misdemeanor offenses, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Based on video footage, Giberson was seen “obstructing, impeding, and interfering with law enforcement officers guarding the United States Capitol.” A review of surveillance footage and videos posted on YouTube and other platforms revealed Giberson “engaged in a violent assault against multiple law enforcement officers in the tunnel,” the report reads, identifying the tunnel as a narrow point of entry on the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol.

The report says Giberson was wearing a blue baseball cap with the words “TRUMP Make America Great Again” on it, a black and grey gaiter with the American flag on it, and a Trump flag around his neck. The report is accompanied by numerous images captured from the footage. The footage shows man identified as Giberson and a group of rioters leading the effort to push into the building, and says he started chanting “Drag them out!” and cheering when weapons and pepper spray were used on Capitol police officers in the tunnel.

The report says Giberson confirmed he was the person in the photographs during an interview with the FBI at the Princeton Police Department. He is to make his first appearance in federal court on March 21. Since January 6, 2021, the Department of Justice has charged more than 1,000 people with crimes related to the riot, which disrupted a joint session of Congress that later confirmed Joe Biden as winner of the 2020 election.

The FBI located Giberson after matching images of him from the riot with images found through Instagram and Princeton University’s website. They also found a possible match to a high school student named Larry Wayne Giberson who attended Southern Regional High School in Stafford Township; then submitted it to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to retrieve a driver’s license photo. “The return came back with a corrected name of Larry Fife Giberson due to a recent name change, but appeared to be the same individual” in the photos,” the report says.

On campus, Giberson expressed his opposition to the decision to rename Wilson College and the Woodrow Wilson School due to Wilson’s known racist opinions and actions. In an open letter to The Princeton Tory, he wrote:

“It is my opinion that the decision to remove former President Woodrow Wilson’s name from both Wilson College and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, while certainly made in good faith, indicates Princeton’s willingness to capitulate to the whims of ephemeral social trends in order to garner a more favorable public opinion. Furthermore, I would argue, it is this willingness to acquiesce and to ignore our history that this week has placed the University not among the leaders of higher institutions of education in this country and abroad, but among the followers. Although I have great respect and love for both the University and its hard-working faculty, today I cannot say that I am proud to be a Princetonian.”

A statement from publisher Darius Gross is now attached to that letter. It reads, “We at the Tory were disheartened to learn about Princeton student Larry Giberson’s ’23 alleged involvement with the events at the Capitol building on January 6 … The infiltration of the Capitol building by violent protestors was a tragic blow to our nation…. We are monitoring this story closely and we will keep the community updated as more information becomes available.”

Asked for comment from the University, Director of Media Relations Michael E. Hotchkiss emailed, “Larry F. Giberson Jr. is currently enrolled as an undergraduate at Princeton.”