'Bullhorn Lady'

TANNER MONDOK | Herald file Rachel Powell, of Sandy Lake, uses a bullhorn to talk to passing cars while protesting stay-at-home orders and the shutdown of non-essential businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic April 20 last year at the Mercer County Courthouse in Mercer.

A participant, known as the “Bullhorn Lady,” in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots was identified this week in a national publication as a one-time Mercer County resident.

Rachel Powell, 40, was identified by The New Yorker magazine as having taken part in the violence at the Capitol. Powell received her nickname from videos that show her wearing a pink hat, sunglasses as she used a bullhorn to direct rioters.

New Yorker contributing writer Ronan Farrow, interviewed Powell for an article titled “A Pennsylvania Mother’s Path to Insurrection,” which was posted Tuesday to the magazine’s website.

Farrow reported that videos also show Powell using her bullhorn and a battering ram, and breaking a glass window as she led a group of protesters Jan. 6 in the U.S. Capitol.

Staff of The Herald photographed and interviewed Powell during anti-COVID-19-mask protests during April and May in Mercer.

“We are all essential, because we all have to feed our families,’’ Powell told The Herald at the May protest.

At the time she said she was furloughed from her sales job with Cherish Creamery, based in Reynoldsville, Jefferson County.

“I don’t think the governor has the right to tell people not to work.’’ Powell told The Herald.

While at the demonstration, Powell said the response from pedestrians passing by the protest were mostly positive.

“And the people who disagree with us, who take the time to actually talk to us, at least leave with an understanding of where we are coming from,’’ she said.

The Herald photograph and article reported Powell as a Sandy Lake resident. However, online sources indicate that she lived in New Lebanon, a small borough several miles north of Sandy Lake.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, New Lebanon’s has a population of 188.

The New Yorker story included references to Powell’s Facebook page, which appears to have been taken down. Attempts to contact New Lebanon borough officials through an office phone listed on the Mercer County website were unsuccessful.

According to the magazine article, Powell is a California native who moved to West Sunbury, Butler County, when she was 15.

The magazine said Powell acknowledged her role in the riot, but said her conduct was spontaneous, not the widespread speculation that it was a coordinated plan with an organized group.

Powell had no military background and sold cheese and yogurt at local farmers’ markets.

The New Yorker story didn’t disclose where Powell now lives. But it quoted her as saying she declined to elaborate about her role in the riot.

“I need to talk to an attorney,’’ she told Farrow.

Trending Video