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The man who used a stun gun on police during a January 6 riot has pleaded guilty

The man who used a stun gun on police during a January 6 riot has pleaded guilty

A California man pleaded guilty Tuesday to using a stun gun to attack a Washington, D.C., police officer. Brutally wounded while defending the US Capitol From an angry crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021.

Daniel Rodriguez, 40, of Fontana, admitted taking part in the violent attack on former Metropolitan Police officer Michael Fanone after another rioter dragged the officer into the crowd outside the tunnel where police were trying to disperse the crowd. Fanone, who at one point lost consciousness and suffered a heart attack, was heard shouting on camera that she had her baby in a desperate plea for her life as other rioters beat her.

Rodriguez’s guilty plea came about two weeks before jury selection was scheduled to begin in federal court in Washington. He pleaded guilty to four felony charges, including conspiracy and assault on a law enforcement officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

His lawyers were emailed for comment on Tuesday. He is scheduled to be sentenced in May.

In an interview with FBI agents following his arrest in March 2021, Rodriguez admitted that he fired a stun gun into Fanone’s neck. Rodriguez told agents he believed he was doing the “right thing” on Jan. 6 and was prepared to die to “save the country.” He cried as he spoke to agents, saying he was “stupid” and ashamed of his actions.

Rodriguez’s attorneys tried unsuccessfully to block prosecutors from using his FBI interview during the trial, arguing that agents used “emotionally coercive tactics” to get him to talk.

Authorities said Rodriguez and others were part of a Telegram group chat called the “PATRIOTS 45 MAGA Gang” that ran until Jan. 6 in which they advocated violence and discussed what they saw as a stolen election. In a Dec. 29, 2020, post, Rodriguez wrote in the chat: “Congress can hang up. I will do it. Please let us get these people dear God,” according to charging documents.

At the Capitol, Rodriguez was part of a crowd that pushed into the tunnel where officers were trying to fend off rioters, prosecutors said. Inside the tunnel, another rioter handed him a stun gun that he would later apply to the back of Fanone’s neck, according to court documents. After attacking Fanon, Rodriguez entered the Capitol through a broken window. Later, he texted his friends: “(expletive) tazed out of the blue,” they said.

Others accused of assaulting Fanone include Albuquerque Cosper Head, who put his arm around Fanone’s neck and dragged him out of the tunnel into the crowd. Head restrains Fanon while other rioters attack him. Head was sentenced in October to more than seven years in prison After pleading guilty to an assault charge.

Fanon said at Head’s sentencing that he suffered a heart attack and a traumatic brain injury, and that his injuries ultimately cost him his career. He wrote a book about his January 6 experience and testified at a House committee hearing investigating the uprising.

Another man, Kyle Young, who assisted in the continued assault on the officer, In September, he was sentenced to seven years and two months in prison. The youth grabbed the officer by the wrists while others shouted, “Kill him!” and “Take his gun!”

These are among the longest sentences which have so far been handed over to riots.

About 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Jan. 6 riots. More than 500 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanors. An estimated 400 people were sentenced, more than half of whom received prison terms ranging from seven days to 10 years.

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Richer reports from Boston. Associated Press reporter Michael Kunzelman contributed from Washington.



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