DOJ indicts 3 on charges stemming from January unrest at Capitol

The ongoing fallout from the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol continued this week with news that charges have been filed against individuals accused of assaulting a law enforcement officer during the chaos of that day.

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), an unsealed indictment was issued on Friday against three men in connection with an attack on D.C. police officer Michael Fanone, with the suspects now facing 13 federal charges including assaulting an officer, obstructing an official proceeding, and entering a restricted building during demonstrations in support of then-President Donald Trump.

Washington CBS affiliate WUSA reported that Albuquerque Cosper Head of Tennessee, Kyle James Young of Iowa, and Thomas Sibick of New York are suspected in the assault on Fanone, during which he was beaten and Tasered and also had his badge and radio stolen, as Law & Crime noted. Fanone also reportedly suffered a concussion and a mild cardiac event later in the day, leading to his placement on temporary medical leave following the event.

Fanone later recounted that during the attack, he heard members of the protest mob urging others to “Kill him with his own gun,” and he that he feared he would not make it back home to continue caring for his four daughters.

An FBI affidavit in support of the indictment paints a terrifying picture of Fanone’s experience on that fateful day, describing how, as he was defending a doorway at the Capitol, he was pulled into the crowd where he was beaten, tased, and robbed of his badge, radio and 17-round magazine while attempts were made to “forcibly remove his service weapon from its fixed holster.”

The case against Sibick in particular took a significant turn in late January, when a witness from his hometown of Buffalo, New York reported that the suspect posted on Instagram video taken on the day in question in which he can be heard screaming, “Just got tear-gassed, but we’re going, baby, we’re going!” Another witnessed reported the existence of a Facebook photo in which Sibick was seen holding a U.S. Capitol Police shield.

Upon a review of Fanone’s bodycam video from the violent meleé, authorities subsequently spotted a man fitting Sibick’s description right in the mix of what was occurring. Sibick ultimately admitted to taking Fanone’s badge and radio, but claimed he did so only in an attempt to assist the officer, though his explanations of what happened to those items after the attack continued to change, according to Law & Crime.

According to the DOJ, Young was arrested by the FBI’s field office in Omaha on Wednesday, and Head was picked up by the field office in Knoxville that same day. Sibick, however, had already been arrested back in March for the alleged theft of Fanone’s badge and radio, but he now faces additional charges pursuant to the new indictment.

While it is certainly true that Democrats have opportunistically and disingenuously used January’s Captiol unrest to paint supporters of former President Trump as dangerous political extremists, there is no excuse for the sort of brutality and lawlessness of which these men stand accused, and it is important for justice to be served in this case and all others like it.