DOJ accuses 5 Floridians of attacking 7 police officers during Capitol rebellion

Prosecutors say all defendants in the Tampa Bay area repeatedly attacked members of the Washington, DC police force. They allegedly used stolen riot shields and flags to attack officers head and neck, and later resorted to punching, kicking and elbowing officers.

The indictment covers 19 criminal cases, the most in the Capitol riot case.

Four defendants were arrested last week, and they pleaded not guilty in D.C. federal court on Thursday. Three are released and a fourth is in prison, while a judge considers a prosecutor’s request to keep him in custody before trial. The Justice Department said in a press release, the fifth defendant has not been traced and “remains at large”.

Prosecutors say Jonathan Pollock charged police with a flag, dragged two officers down stairs, knelt down a police officer, punched two officers in the face, grabbed an officer’s neck and dropped them to the ground, and banged the stolen police shield around the officer’s neck.

He wore tactical gear and a military outfit and was in the Capitol with his sister, Olivia Pollock. Prosecutors say he elbowed a police officer and repeatedly tried to tear off officers’ batons.

Charging documents stated that Michael Perkins raised a flag at the police line, and later “thrusted”.[ed] flag in the chest of a police officer.” After this happened, Perkins allegedly raised the flag over his head and rolled it at an officer, hitting either his head or the back.

Prosecutors say Joseph Hutchinson helped break down a fence and kicked officers who were trying to prevent rioters from further breaching the Capitol. Hutchinson was also wearing tactical gear.

“It was a coordinated group of individuals who clinging to each other and facilitating each other’s attacks,” federal prosecutor Bennett Kearney told a court hearing on Thursday.

A fifth man, Joshua Doolin, was charged with the group, but he is not accused of assaulting anyone. Prosecutors said he was seen near the Capitol with “zip tie handcuffs tied to a belt” and that he had a canister of chemical irritant that “appears to belong to” police for use in riot control situations. Prosecutors did not say how Doolin obtained the canister or handcuffs.

exposes the case The violence faced by the police at the hands of a pro-Trump crowd, which many officials have described as a harrowing life-or-death experience. Nonetheless, several aides to former President Donald Trump have whitewashed the January 6 events, downplayed the violence, and claimed the crowds originally resembled a regular tourist visit to the Capitol.

About 530 people have been indicted for crimes stemming from the Capitol attack. All five defendants in this case are from Florida, which has the most defendants of any state in the country, with a total of 62. The states with the next most defendants are Pennsylvania and Texas.

Doolin, Hutchinson and Olivia Pollock pleaded not guilty in a court hearing on Thursday. All three are out of jail – Hutchinson is under house arrest, the other two are receiving GPS monitoring. Perkins is still in prison, and prosecutors say he is too dangerous to be released. A judge will decide next week whether to keep him in custody. He pleaded not guilty.

Officials still haven’t traced Jonathan Pollack.

This story has been updated with additional development on Thursday.

CNN’s Hannah Rabinowitz contributed to this report.


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