Jan 6 Attacker Who Punched & Rammed Officers Caught & Facing 10 Years

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An Arizona resident has become one of the latest Capitol rioters to be arrested for assaulting police at the Capitol while there last year. The individual in question is 50-year-old Jacob Zerkle, whose charges include assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers; civil disorder; engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds; and more. Those first two offenses alone appear to come with a combined potential sentence of over ten years, including eight years for the assault on law enforcement and five for civil disorder, both of which are felonies. (Those are maximums for sentencing guidelines.) Prosecutors recently scored significant victories in proving riot-related allegations at trial in the case of Texas resident Guy Reffitt, who was found guilty of all five felony charges he faced.

As for Zerkle, the Justice Department says in a press release that he “threw several punches at one officer, pushed at least one other officer, and grabbed the baton of another.” One of the officers — identified as C.W. — who struggled with Zerkle said in an interview from the process of building this case that he “was part of Civil Disturbance Unit (“CDU”) 42, who had been brought in to assist in reinforcing officers defending the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. [Officer (Ofc.)] C.W. stated that he observed the subject fighting with two unknown police officers. Ofc. C.W. approached the subject and grabbed his backpack. The subject then threw several punches at Ofc. C.W. Ofc. C.W. then pushed the subject away then the subject charged Ofc. C.W. and rammed into him,” as summarized in a filing. (“The subject” refers to Zerkle.) Charging and ramming into a police officer certainly sound like a surefire way to end up charged with a crime.

The FBI agent who prepared the statement of facts associated with Zerkle’s charges said that they interviewed him last October, at which point Zerkle “stated that he pushed into some police officers and that he probably did something dumb,” in the agent’s description, although Zerkle apparently claimed “that he was shoved into the police and was trying to protect himself but did not intend to assault a police officer,” they added. Apparently, Zerkle also indicated to the agent that he didn’t attend Trump’s speech at the outdoor rally in D.C. that immediately preceded the attack on the Capitol — he was more interested in protesting, he said. Meanwhile, prosecutors are continuing their work on conspiracy cases tied to the violence, including the seditious conspiracy case against members of the Oath Keepers and the criminal (but not seditious) conspiracy charges that have been brought against members of the Proud Boys. Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, a former national leader of the latter group, is among those charged, and he was recently ordered to stay in jail ahead of further proceedings. Although he wasn’t at the Capitol during last year’s attack, he apparently helped plan for violence and stayed in touch with people who were there.