Feb 29, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Off-duty deputy who attacked officers during Jan. 6 riot sentenced

Pro-Trump supporters and far-right forces flooded Washington DC to protest Trump's election loss. Hundreds breached the U.S. Capitol Building, aproximately 13 were arrested and one protester was killed. (Photo by Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Pro-Trump supporters breach the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Photo: Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

An off-duty Tennessee sheriff's deputy who assaulted officers during the Capitol riot was sentenced to 70 months in prison on Thursday, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia announced.

The big picture: Ronald Colton McAbee was on medical leave from his job as a sheriff's deputy in Williamson County, Tennessee, when he went to Washington D.C. for the insurrection, wearing a "SHERIFF" patch, prosecutors said.

A man, circled, whom prosecutors identify as Ronald Colton McAbee during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
A man, circled, whom prosecutors identify as Ronald Colton McAbee during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Photo: U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia
  • During the riot, McAbee grabbed a downed police officer's leg and pulled him further toward the crowd, prosecutors said. McAbee was wearing reinforced knuckle gloves when he swung his arms and hands at the head and torso of another officer who rushed to help their colleague, they said.
  • He then lifted the first downed officer and they both slid down a set of steps, with McAbee falling on top of the officer, who was hospitalized.
  • McAbee testified at trial that he was trying to protect the officer, per the Washington Post.

State of play: McAbee was also sentenced to 36 months of supervised release and ordered to pay $32,165 in restitution.

  • He was convicted by a jury in October of five felonies.
  • These included: assaulting, resisting, or impeding an officer; civil disorder; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; and engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon.
  • McAbee pleaded guilty to a separate felony charge of assaulting, resisting, or impeding a second officer and a misdemeanor charge of an act of physical violence on the Capitol grounds.

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