Lucas Denney, a Texas man who participated in the Capitol riot after trying to assemble his own militia group (weapons and all) aligned with the Three Percenters, was sentenced this week to a little under four and a half years in prison.
The exact sentence imposed by federal Judge Randolph Moss in D.C. court was 52 months, after which Denney will be under three years of supervised release. He is also facing financial penalties. Denney, who’s a former military police officer, began his militia efforts in December of 2020 directly in the context of Trump’s election lies and plans for the 6th, and as his involvement with trying to gin up support for activities in D.C. suggests, he was vocal in the lead-up to the Capitol assault, which in another case was connected to charges of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. “I’m so pumped brother. I can’t wait to be in the middle of it on the front line on the 6th,” Denney apparently stated on social media on January 1 last year, per the Justice Department.
At the Capitol, Denney spent one and a half hours fighting police defending the premises. He was eventually present for the assault on then-D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone, who rioters dragged into the crowd and assaulted with implements including a taser. (Kyle Young, who provided a fellow rioter who tased Fanone with the weapon and whose teenage son was with him in the chaos, was recently sentenced to over seven years in prison.) Denney swung his fist at Fanone amid the crowd’s multifaceted assault, and the former officer eventually spoke in court in Denney’s case, describing some of his experiences — and specifically how close he was to potentially dying. Another officer, who Denney hit with a PVC pole, also spoke in court. “It’s clear to me he doesn’t understand his actions that day… and he needs some serious self-reflection,” that officer said.
Denney’s sentencing was delayed amid questions about the details of the case. After an arrest last December in Texas, Denney pleaded guilty in March of this year to assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers with a dangerous weapon, and prosecutors wanted more time in jail: eight years. In D.C., Denney — who later lied under questioning, saying he didn’t recall perpetrating violence while at the Capitol — originally started his own participation in violence the night before the riot even happened, engaging in physical confrontations on Black Lives Matter Plaza in the city and sharing footage of the scene. Denney’s later actions included punching an officer in the face (they were wearing a face shield, blocking the blow), repeatedly spraying chemical irritants at police, and alongside a fellow riot participant hurling what was described as a large tube towards cops.
Denney also evidently attempted to steal what the Justice Department identified as crowd-control spray from the officer who he hit with a PVC pole. Additionally, he was also among those joining in so-called heave-ho motions in the Lower West Terrace tunnel at the Capitol, where rioters swung their bodies back and forth in unison in attempts to break through police lines. Authorities have nabbed a significant number of people who engaged in some of the fighting in that tunnel and participated in that push.