Judge deems Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer a threat to the community

Jon Schaffer
(Image credit: Roberto Schmidt/AFP)

Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer is being held without bail until his trial for his alleged involvement in the storming of the US Capitol on January 6

Schaffer is bring held on six federal criminal charges related to the siege, which includes engaging in an act of physical violence in a Capitol building after allegedly assaulting a Capitol officer with bear spray. The guitarist appeared in photos and videos from the riots at the Capitol building in Washington D.C. In one video, he could be heard saying: “If somebody wants to bring violence, I think there’s a lot of us here that are ready for it.”

His attorneys have have argued that he did not act violently, claiming he had “left the Capitol after approximately 60 seconds and returned home to Indiana”.

“Mr. Schaffer is 53 years old,” attorney Marc Victor wrote in a court motion. “He has no criminal convictions. He does not have a substance abuse or mental health issue. He has no history of violence and was not violent on January 6, 2021. He entered the Capitol with pepper spray. He did not threaten anyone with or discharge the spray.”

During a hearing on March 19, his lawyers claimed the comments Schaffer made in a video had been taken out of context and that their client wished he had a “do-over”. However, Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui determined that Schaffer was a threat to the community and should be held without bail until his trial begins.

On March 21, Canadian hard rocker Danko Jones tweeted a link to an NME article about the hearing with the following message: "Jon Schaffer used bad judgement because he's a white nationalist piece of dog dung. His band mates cheered him on because ICED EARTH are a terrible band. His request for a 'do-over' proves his pathetic weakness. He's the dictionary definition of a bell-end." 

He added in a separate Tweet: "Only those that cosplay at being Alpha want 'do-overs'. Jon Schaffer and @_IcedEarth are a FAKE band."

Schaffer turned himself in to the authorities on January 17. While he has not commented on his alleged involvement, the remaining members of Iced Earth declared their opposition in the following statement:

"We absolutely DO NOT condone nor do we support riots or the acts of violence that the rioters were involved in on January 6th at the US Capitol building. We hope that all those involved that day are brought to justice to be investigated and answer for their actions." 

Metal Hammer

Founded in 1983, Metal Hammer is the global home of all things heavy. We have breaking news, exclusive interviews with the biggest bands and names in metal, rock, hardcore, grunge and beyond, expert reviews of the lastest releases and unrivalled insider access to metal's most exciting new scenes and movements. No matter what you're into – be it heavy metal, punk, hardcore, grunge, alternative, goth, industrial, djent or the stuff so bizarre it defies classification – you'll find it all here, backed by the best writers in our game.