Kevin Greeson was one of the five people who lost their lives during the January 6 riots in 2021 that culminated in the vandalisation of the US Capitol.
Greeson, a father of five, had been a long-time Democrat who was in favour of unions and progressive politicians, and even attended President Barack Obama‘s swearing in ceremony in 2009. However, by the time he died on the Capitol grounds of a heart attack on January 6, 2021, he had undergone a stark political transformation.
According to Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalism outlet ProPublica, Greeson’s political transformation did not happen overnight and was perhaps precipitated by the economic and political transformation of Alabama. The southern state was a large manufacturing hub for much of the 20th century and provided employment to large numbers of blue collar workers. However, over the past two decades, most of these plants closed down or were sold to foreign companies, resulting in a drop in employment. Simultaneously, as jobs disappeared, so did support for the Democratic party, and the state started shifting towards Republicans.
It is against this backdrop that Greeson’s political transformation took place. The Greeson family’s attorney, Mark McDaniel, confirmed the same, saying, “He was a vice president at the union, and he was an Obama supporter. He got interested in Trump because he felt he was more business-minded, and as the economy kept getting better, he kept getting more interested in Trump.”
In fact, Greeson’s interest in Donald Trump and his brand of politics grew so intense, that by the end of 2020, he had given up watching Fox News for other, less mainstream and more far-right media outlets. Greeson was also a supporter of the far-right neo-fascist organization, Proud Boys, and went on to write a series of posts on right-leaning social media website Parler urging political violence against Democrats over allegations that Joe Biden had ‘stolen’ the 2020 Presidential elections.
“Let’s take this f***ing Country BACK!! Load your guns and take to the streets!,” Greeson had posted on December 17, weeks before the January 6 riots when he was part of the mob that stormed the Capitol and disrupted the joint session of Congress that was underway to confirm Joe Biden’s win in the elections.
Despite his inflammatory posts, his wife, Kristi, and his attorney, Mark McDaniel, told USA TODAY that Greeson “was not there [at the Capitol] to participate in violence or rioting, nor did he condone such actions.”
Greeson suffered a cardiac arrest on the Capitol grounds on January 6 was pronounced dead. Around the time of his death, there were several social media posts that claimed that he suffered a heart attack after mistakenly tasing himself. However, Greeson’s wife insists that her husband did not die from a taser shot, and has told USA TODAY, “Kevin had a history of high blood pressure, and in the midst of the excitement, suffered a heart attack.”