Capitol Rioter Who Chased & Tackled Officers Given Lengthy Jail Sentence

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A jury-convicted participant in the Capitol violence of January 6, 2021, was sentenced this week to six and a half years in prison after trial jurors found him guilty of federal criminal offenses including assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers and civil disorder.

Defendant Ralph Joseph Celentano III, a New York man, tackled one police officer from behind during the chaos, sending his target over a ledge and into a crowd below that included other officers and riot participants. The officer, Kenrick Ellis with the U.S. Capitol Police, said he was anticipating he’d meet his end that day as the violence intensified. Ellis, a veteran who served with the U.S. military overseas, would have left behind a young son. The affected officer spoke during Celentano’s sentencing proceedings this week, deeming the Capitol riot defendant not a “patriot” but instead a “coward.”

Celentano was among the participants in January 6 chaos who attended Donald Trump’s large, outdoor rally in Washington, D.C., that day where the then-president and others reiterated false claims of systematic election fraud and clamored for action.

Around the same time that Celentano shoved Ellis over a ledge, the defendant chased another officer. “Immediately thereafter, Celentano chased an unidentified officer for eight to ten feet before shoving that officer,” the government said. These confrontations were outside the Capitol building. Recording video footage, Celentano bragged about his participation in the immediate wake of the violence starting. “We did it boys, we stormed the Capitol. Here we are, for all to see. A sea of American patriots,” he said, per commentary excerpted by the Justice Department.

Elsewhere in Capitol riot cases, a different defendant convicted of joining the chaos was recently ordered by a judge in tandem with prison time to pay over $30,000 to help cover medical expenses incurred by an officer with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. Defendant Clayton Ray Mullins dragged an officer with that police agency by their leg as they struggled on the ground, and Mullins was also left with tens of thousands of dollars in additional financial penalties oriented elsewhere.