Police Slap Cuffs on ‘Handshake Man’ at Inauguration

Posted January 20, 2005 at 10:32am

The Capitol Police arrested the infamous “Handshake Man,” a California minister who has repeatedly eluded law enforcement officers during presidential inaugurals and other major events, early Thursday morning as he entered a viewing area on the Capitol’s West front.

Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said officers arrested Richard Weaver, as he attempted to pass through a checkpoint at First Street Southwest and Independence Avenue. It is not clear whether Weaver possessed a ticket to the event.

Gainer said officers were well prepared to recognize Weaver after the nondenominational minister eluded both Secret Service and Capitol Police officers to enter a restricted area and shake hands with President Bush during his first inauguration in 2001.

“We’ve had his picture all over the place,” Gainer said.

According to a Secret Service spokesman, the Capitol Police arrested Weaver based on an outstanding warrant for unlawful entry issued after Weaver attended the 2003 National Prayer Service in the District of Columbia. The violation is a misdemeanor under D.C. law.

Weaver, president of Spiritual Revolution through Christ, Inc., accomplished a similar stunt during then-President Bill Clinton’s second inaugural ceremony, as well as numerous other major events.

Weaver’s arrest was the first made by Capitol Police during the 55th Inaugural Ceremony.