LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – A Lakeland man shown allegedly tackling a Capitol police officer in a video recently released by the FBI, may be under scrutiny by more than just law enforcement.
Jonathan Pollock, 21, is seen in the body camera footage lunging at an officer shortly before tackling her and later taking a riot shield and swinging it at other officers.
Dozens of images of Pollock are also featured on the website called the Sedition Hunters, one of a number of volunteer-powered organizations around the world that emerged last year to develop tips for the FBI.
One Tampa Bay area resident who asked not to be identified over the fear of retribution from the suspects they helped name, said they started helping right after the assault.
“I’m retired and have the time,” they said. “I have watched thousands of hours of video. Then, each picture you pull from the stream sends you on a search for a name, a location.”
They said scouring social media accounts often helped find “incriminating” statements and clues that tied the individual to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“I’ve spent hours and hours on single freeze frames,” they said. “But if it puts a name to a face and includes someone admitting what they did, it’s worth it.”
Largo’s Robert Palmer, who will soon begin serving a 63-month sentence for throwing a fire extinguisher, a wooden plank and a spear-like pole at police, was nabbed with the help of a citizen sleuth.
After her tip to the FBI did not seem to have an impact, she called Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly.
“A colleague of mine called Palmer and he admitted he was there,” Reilly said.
12 days later he turned himself into the FBI.
FBI Public Affairs Officer Samantha Shero said the agency is well aware of the impact from citizen sleuths.
“The FBI encourages the public to continue to send tips to the FBI,” Shero said. “As we have seen with dozens of cases so far, the tips matter.”
Reilly, who is writing a book about the FBI manhunt, said he has talked to dozens of individuals who say they’ve identified suspects.
“They will look for freckles and moles and then try to match those identifying features to other pictures on the internet,” Reilly said.
The Sedition Hunters website has a photo lineup of 2,320 “insiders,” including 562 who have been arrested. According to the FBI, more than 725 have been arrested including 75 from Florida and 20 from the bay area.
Pollock is one of about 350 suspects the FBI is currently looking for, with about 250 of them wanted for allegedly assaulting law enforcement.
The citizen sleuth who talked with 8 On Your Side and others have said their focus is on the more violent suspects.
Reilly recalled a video that was discovered by one of the volunteer detectives that showed a man later identified as Daniel Rodriguez zapping Officer Mike Fanone with a taser.
As helpful as these citizens are, Reilly said he won’t be surprised to see impatience from them about cases that stay open for too long.
“If there’s a case that’s really rock-solid, I think we could see pressure from these sleuths to bring these cases forward,” Reilly said.
Shero said “tipsters should rest assured that the FBI is working diligently behind the scenes to follow all investigative leads to verify tips from the public and bring these criminals to justice. ”
Anyone with information about the Capitol violence is asked to contact the FBI.