AZ Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Police Officers in Jan. 6 Attack on Congress
A Southern Arizona man recently pleaded guilty to assaulting police officers and civil disorder, stemming from his involvement in the January 6 attack on Congress. The attack was carried out by supporters of Donald Trump, who aimed to disrupt the confirmation of electoral votes for President Joe Biden. Jacob Zerkle, 51, entered his plea in front of U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton in Washington D.C. and is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 22, 2024.
Identification and Arrest
Zerkle was identified through body-worn camera footage, which showed him fighting with police on the Capitol grounds. He was seen throwing punches at one officer and rushing another. He was wearing a heavy leather jacket as he battled with police on the West Lawn of the Capitol. Zerkle was arrested in Arizona last March and faced multiple charges, including assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers, civil disorder, and physical violence on Capitol grounds.
Charges and Sentencing
If convicted, Zerkle faces up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The January 6 attack on Congress occurred during a joint session to count the votes of the Electoral College. Thousands of Trump supporters gathered for a rally and stormed the Capitol building, resulting in clashes with police. The incident led to the Impeachment trial of the ex-president, but he was not convicted.
Investigation and Fallout
Since the attack, over 1,100 individuals have been charged in almost all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the Capitol. More than 400 individuals have been charged with felonies, including assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation into the insurrection is ongoing.
According to court documents, Zerkle arrived in Washington D.C. on Jan. 2 and made his way through restricted sections of the Capitol grounds. He joined other protestors in chants, including “hang ’em high.” At around 2 p.m., Zerkle attacked a line of Metropolitan Police Department officers who were attempting to reinforce U.S. Capitol Police. He fought with the officers, calling them “traitors” for protecting the Capitol.
Interview with Zerkle
In an interview with the FBI, Zerkle admitted to pushing into some police officers during the riot but claimed he was trying to protect himself and did not intend to assault anyone. He stated that he went to the Capitol to protest, not to listen to speeches. Zerkle’s actions delayed the officers in responding to the Capitol building as ordered.
Other Rioters from Arizona
Zerkle is not the only Capitol rioter from Arizona. Jacob Angeli, known for his unique attire, was sentenced to prison for his involvement in the attack. Felicia Konold and Cory Konold, who are linked to the Proud Boys, a white nationalist organization, are also facing federal charges.
The prosecution of Zerkle was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Justice Department’s National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. The FBI’s Phoenix and Washington field offices provided assistance in the investigation.
Read More of this Story at www.tucsonsentinel.com – 2023-10-31 01:22:51
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