Defendant Carried Flagpole Into Capitol, Joined in Confrontations With Officers
WASHINGTON – A Texas man was sentenced for felony charges, including assaulting law enforcement officers, 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.
Joshua Lee Hernandez, 29, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced today to 24 months in prison. Hernandez pleaded guilty on November 2, 2022, in the District of Columbia, to assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers, and interfering with officers during a civil disorder. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper ordered 36 months of supervised release, and a $2,000 special assessment.
According to court documents, Hernandez traveled from Memphis, Tennessee, to Washington, D.C. On Jan. 6, 2021, he illegally entered the restricted grounds of the Capitol, heading to the Lower West Terrace area, and inciting the crowd by waving a flag and chanting. At 2:13 p.m., he entered the Capitol through a window near the Senate Wing Doors, carrying a flagpole. Over the next 40 minutes, he moved through the Senate Wing, the Crypt, the House Speaker’s Conference Room, and the Rotunda, among various places, with the flagpole.
Between 2:35 and 2:40 p.m., Hernandez joined rioters who were confronting law enforcement officers at the East Rotunda interior door. He shouted and waved at others to join him in a group push against the officers in order for the mob to open the doors to other rioters outside. He braced and pushed with the group, causing the East Rotunda doors to open to those outside. He then moved around the group of rioters, moved his flagpole up, reached with it over top of the group of rioters surrounding the officers, and hit one officer on his riot helment with the flagpole.
At 2:46 p.m., Hernandez entered the Senate Gallery, carrying the flagpole. He left the Gallery after a few minutes, exiting the Capitol at 2:52 p.m.
Hernandez was arrested on Feb. 23, 2022, in Memphis.
This case was 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 Southern District of Texas.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Memphis Field Office and the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified Hernandez as #27 on its seeking information photos. Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.
In the 24 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 950 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 284 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