If you assumed that the fallout from the US Capitol riots in Washington, DC, on January 6, which left five people dead, wouldn’t hit close to home, you’d be wrong.
As early as Saturday, January 9, Facebook users began sharing photos of Malta Town Zoning Board of Appeals member Sharon Pineo, who had taken part in the Capitol riots, being arrested, handcuffed and led away by law enforcement. On January 10, Malta Town Board member Tim Dunn had seemingly caught wind of it, posting to his Facebook page that “it has come to my attention that a member of the Malta Zoning Board of Appeals was involved in the protests in Washington, DC and was detained by law enforcement,” adding that “while my understanding is that this individual has not been charged with a crime, the actions and intentions of the group that stormed the Capitol are reprehensible and not consistent with the values of our community.”
Almost immediately following Pineo’s exposure, there were calls for her resignation—and after the story was reported by a number of local broadcast networks, by January 11, the other shoe had dropped. As The Daily Gazette reports, Pineo wrote in a statement to Malta Town Supervisor Darren O’Connor: “I tender this resignation with regret, but believe that in these challenging times, it is important to not all any impediment to the smooth operation of the town’s business.” She also followed that up with a statement on local radio: “I would like the public to know that I did not enter the [Capitol] building nor did I commit any violence. [I] exercised on behalf of the people the freedom of speech.”
Last December 22, Pineo, a member of the Saratoga County GOP, shared a post on the Upstate Conservative Coalition’s Facebook group page, noting that she was organizing a trip down to DC on January 6 to “assemble at the [sic] Capitol to declare to Congress that we do not support a stolen election.”
Though the election of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President–elect Kamala Harris had been certified by all 50 states some three weeks before Pineo’s post, hundreds of Republican Senators and Congresspeople had called the results into question, including Congresswoman Elisa Stefanik, who represents a portion of Saratoga County.
However, despite the violence at the Capitol building on the 6th, the Electoral College votes were tallied and certified early the following morning, with Vice President Mike Pence declaring Biden and Harris the winners of the election.