Defendant Assaulted Police With Metal Flagpole
WASHINGTON — A North Carolina man pleaded guilty today to assaulting law enforcement during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election.
Matthew Jason Beddingfield, 22, of Middlesex, North Carolina, pleaded guilty in District Court in the District of Columbia to the felony charge of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers. U.S. District Court Judge Carl J. Nichols scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 22, 2023. The charge carries a statutory maximum of eight years in prison and potential financial penalties. The Court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
According to court documents, on Jan. 6, at approximately 12:58 p.m., Beddingfield jumped over a barricade and charged towards a group of U.S. Capitol Police officers who were near the scaffolding that had previously been erected outside the southwest side of the building. A crowd surrounded the officers. At approximately 1:06 p.m., Beddingfield attacked the officers, jabbing at them with a metal flagpole he brought with him. Soon thereafter, he can be seen throwing a metal rod at law enforcement. He remained on the restricted grounds, moving about, before entering the Capitol at approximately 2:38 p.m. through a door on the Capitol’s Upper West Terrace.
Once inside the Capitol, Beddingfield made his way to the Great Rotunda before joining a group of rioters who attempted to storm the Senate Wing. He was towards the front of the rioters and assisted the crowd’s push against police officers. He and the other rioters returned to the Great Rotunda after a chemical irritant was deployed. He continued walking around the Capitol and entered the office of Congressman Kevin McCarthy before finally leaving the Capitol at approximately 3:07pm. Beddingfield spent approximately 30 minutes inside the Capitol and about two hours on the restricted grounds.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
The case is being investigated by the FBI Charlotte Field Office’s Raleigh Resident Agency, and the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.
In the 25 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 985 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including approximately 319 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.
originally published at HUMAN RIGHTS - USA DAILY NEWS 24