Daniel Rodriguez, the man who attacked then-Washington, DC, police officer Michael Fanone with an electroshock weapon in the neck during the US Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, was sentenced Wednesday to 12 and a half years in prison.
Rodriguez, 40, had pleaded guilty to four counts in February, including conspiracy, assault with a dangerous weapon and obstruction of an official proceeding.
As Rodriguez exited the courtroom Wednesday, he defiantly shouted that “Trump won!” repeating the same lie that ultimately culminated in the Capitol attack.
During Wednesday’s sentencing, Judge Amy Berman Jackson called Rodriguez as a “one-man army” who, in the lead-up to January 6, called for “blood in the streets,” revolution, and violence against Donald Trump’s enemies in a Telegram group chat he created.
Jackson, who called Rodriguez’s attack on Fanone a “horrific assault,” noted that while Rodriguez was trying to stop the peaceful transfer of power, Fanone “was protecting the very foundation of democracy.”
“He was protecting America,” she said.
Before the judge handed down her sentence, Rodriguez blamed his actions on his difficult upbringing, disparities between socioeconomic classes in American society, and the violent protests in the summer of 2020 in a rambling, half-hour speech.
“I did what I thought was right,” Rodriguez, who called himself “an American Supremacist,” said of his actions on January 6.
Fanone, who addressed the court Wednesday, said he didn’t “give a sh*t” about Rodriguez. “He ceased to exist a long time ago.”
“My career, my friends and my faith in the justice system” were extinguished in the January 6 attack, Fanone said.
The former Metropolitan Police officer told CNN that he felt the sentence for Rodriguez was appropriate but said he believes it is time for DOJ to move forward on indicting Trump in connection with January 6. Fanone said that he won’t feel closure until those responsible for the planning and preparation of the January 6 attack are held responsible.
In the weeks and months leading up to the January 6 attack, Rodriguez posted frequent messages about war, revolution and traitors in a group chat he created, according to prosecutors.
After Trump called for a protest in Washington on January 6, Rodriguez urged members of his group to travel to DC, telling them it was time to put “differences aside and fight” and encouraged them to bring weapons including knives and cans of bear spray, prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.
“Congress can hang. I’ll do it. Please let us get these people dear God,” Rodriguez wrote on the group message, according to screenshots of the chat.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Rodriguez said he only went to DC on January 6 to “protect the city from being burned down,” adding that he was “hopeful” Fanone would “be OK one day.”
During the Capitol attack, Rodriguez joined the throng of rioters in one of the most brutal and persistent attacks on officers that day.
Lines of police guarded a small tunnel entrance to the Capitol against members of the mob who used metal poles, bats, stolen riot shields, chemical spray, strobing lights and their own fists against the officers.
Rodriguez attacked the officers with a wooden pole and sprayed the line of defense with a fire extinguisher, according to prosecutors, and, inside the tunnel after another member of the mob gave Rodriguez the electroshock weapon, he lunged at police with the device.
After Fanone was dragged out of the tunnel by a rioter and pulled to the ground, Rodriguez used the weapon against Fanone, shocking him twice in the neck.
“With his electroshock weapon in hand, Rodriguez reached his arm towards the side of Officer Fanone’s neck, landing the device on the side of Officer Fanone’s neck, below the left ear of Officer Fanone’s helmet…Officer Fanone screamed in pain,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.
After Fanone was able to retreat to the line of officers, he became unconscious.
“Tazzzzed the f**k out of the blue,” Rodriguez wrote on his group message while the riot was still unfolding, according to prosecutors.
Fanone suffered a heart attack and a traumatic brain injury from the rioters’ assault.
Rodriguez on Thursday was also ordered to pay more than $96,000 to the DC-based Metropolitan Police Department for Fanone’s medical and leave expenses resulting from the attack.
After the attack on Fanone, Rodriguez went inside the Capitol, attempted to break a window in the building and told others to “look for intel,” according to prosecutors.
Rodriguez continued to call for violence in the group chat after January 6, telling others to be ready for Pence’s security detail next time.
“We must be ready next time for Pence’s body guard. Hang together or we hang separately. The best way for them to win this war is if there’s never a battle. We must do much more next time. Plan on not failing and don’t fail the plan,” Rodriguez wrote, according to evidence presented by prosecutors.
During the assault against a line of police officers guarding an entrance to the Capitol in the Lower West Terrace tunnel, Fanone was dragged out by the neck by a man named Albuquerque Head and was quickly swallowed by the mob.
Head pleaded guilty to assaulting an officer and was sentenced to over seven years in prison in October.
Fanone said he was beaten with a flagpole in addition to being tased several times in the neck and heard people in the mob saying they should “kill him with his own gun.” Several people tried to pull his weapon from its holster, according to Fanone, who said he begged the mob to spare him, telling them, “I have kids.”
This story has been updated with additional details.