Ex-MMA Instructor Given Jail Time After Attacking Cops Amid Capitol Riot

0
1060

A Florida man identified by the federal Justice Department as a former instructor in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) was sentenced this week to 30 months in prison after admitting to a pair of felony criminal offenses covering his participation in the Capitol riot of early 2021, spurred by lies tracing to Donald Trump of a stolen presidential election.

Defendant Daniel Paul Gray pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers in October of last year. According to federal authorities’ recounting, Gray was among the January 6 participants to actually enter the Capitol building, a subgroup where prosecutors have focused. He repeatedly confronted police, and a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office for Washington, D.C., links one such confrontation to a targeted officer falling down a series of stairs, which left them with a concussion.

“Gray shoved an officer, making contact with the officer’s baton and knocking the officer off balance. The officer fell down the marble staircase and, as a result, suffered a concussion and chronic back pain,” that release says.

Gray later spoke with ease of these confrontations, remarking in a video stretching for several minutes that he himself posted to Instagram that his corner of the mob eventually started “pushing them [the police] down the staircase,” federal authorities recounted. He also spoke glowingly of what became the Capitol attack in the weeks before the violence, writing on social media early the preceding month that he was “really excited at the possibility of the insurrection act being implemented.” He was referring to a piece of federal law that some imagined could be used in pro-Trump plots for the then-outgoing president to retain power.

A large share of those arrested for alleged participation in the Capitol violence have hailed from Florida. Fellow Florida man Donald Trump continues stumping for their cause, including by suggesting pardons if he regains the White House.