On June 21, a California man who used an electroshock device to assault a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer during the January 6th, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol was sentenced for multiple charges. The attack, which was one of many that day, disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress assembling to count the electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election.
Daniel Joseph “DJ” Rodriguez Sentenced 151 Months
Daniel Joseph “DJ” Rodriguez, a 40-year-old man from Fontana, California, was given 151 months in prison for conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding, obstruction of justice, and assaulting a law enforcement officer with a dangerous weapon. The court also ordered that he pay restitution of $2,000 to the Architect of the Capitol and $96,927 for the damages caused to the MPD victim.
Court documents reveal that leading up to the 2020 presidential election, Rodriguez was the administrator of a Telegram group chat, PATRIOTS45MAGA Gang. The group aimed to bring together supporters of former President Trump. It eventually evolved to become a platform for Rodriguez’s plans of violence against the federal government.
Breach of the Capitol
Early in the morning on January 6th, Rodriguez traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally on the National Mall with his Telegram group members. From the Ellipse, he illegally trespassed the Capitol grounds and entered the lower west terrace tunnel at around 2:46 PM.
Videos from the scene demonstrate that Rodriguez used a fire extinguisher to attack the line of officers present outside the building. He also incited the rioters to push forward towards the police barrier, with the help of fellow rioter Kyle Young, who gave Rodriguez a black, rectangular electroshock weapon. Rodriguez then assaulted an MPD officer by thrusting the device into the neck of the officer.
Following his attack, Rodriguez entered the Capitol building and caused further vandalism, destruction, and theft. He sent multiple images and text messages to the Telegram group to document his crime and express his desire to do further damage.
The case has been prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Justice Department’s National Security Division with valuable assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Additionally, the FBI’s Los Angeles and Washington Field Offices, as well as the Metropolitan Police Department and U.S. Capitol Police, provided invaluable help during the investigation.