Jacob Chansley — the “Q Shaman” who stood out at last month’s Capitol riot with his horned helmet and face paint — has not eaten any food in more than a week because a jail in Washington, D.C., refused to grant his request for an all-organic diet, his lawyer said Wednesday, claiming Chansley has lost 20 pounds since his religious beliefs prevent him from eating. [UPDATE: A judge has decided Chansley should get organic food — further updates are available here].
Chansley needs to steer clear of non-organic food because it violates his shamanistic religious beliefs and could make him physically ill, defense attorney Albert Watkins wrote in a federal court filing on Wednesday.
Last week, Chansley was moved from Phoenix to a D.C. jail that denied his request for a special diet, causing him to go hungry, Watkins said.
After a nine-day fast, a federal judge on Wednesday ruled that Chansley should be fed an organic diet (the D.C. Department of Corrections and the U.S. Department of Justice did not respond to requests for comment).
This isn’t the first time Chansley’s dietary requests have surfaced in court: After he was first arrested in Phoenix last month, he reportedly spent his first weekend in jail without food, prompting federal officials to shift him to an organic diet during his stay in Arizona.
“Based on Mr. Jacob Chansley’s shamanic belief system and way of life, non-organic food, which contains unnatural chemicals, would act as an ‘object intrusion’ onto his body and cause serious illness if he were to eat it,” Watkins’ motion said.
A minor celebrity among believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, Chansley joined the mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters who breached the U.S. Capitol building last month. Photos of Chansley pacing shirtless through the halls of Congress, wearing his trademark fur helmet and carrying a six-foot spear, were among the most striking images that emerged from the Capitol riot. Chansley was arrested by federal authorities last month, and he’s awaiting trial for violent entry, disorderly conduct and other charges, along with more than 150 other alleged participants in the Capitol breach.
Watkins has argued Chansley is not a threat to society, but instead is an intense follower of Trump’s who believed the former president had called on him to enter the Capitol building. Trump is facing a Senate impeachment trial on charges he incited the Capitol riot, and Watkins has publicly suggested that Chansley could testify during those proceedings.