US Capitol rioter gets 44 months in prison for assaulting officer

Nicholas Languerand pleaded guilty to assaulting law enforcement with a dangerous weapon during riot on January 6, 2021.

Rioters loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the US Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021
Hundreds of people have been charged in relation to the events of January 6, 2021, when a mob of former US President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington, DC [File: Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo]

A judge in the United States has imposed a 44-month prison sentence on a man who pleaded guilty to a felony charge after throwing objects at police during last year’s January 6 attack on the US Capitol and boasting about his actions on social media.

The defendant, Nicholas Languerand, has been jailed since his arrest in April 2021 in the US state of South Carolina and will receive credit for time served.

Prosecutors had recommended a 51-month sentence, but US District Judge John Bates in Washington said on Wednesday that a “modest reduction” was warranted in light of Languerand’s personal circumstances, including what the judge described as an “extremely difficult and chaotic upbringing”.

When Languerand was a child, his father intentionally set fire to a trailer that he and his mother were living in, nearly killing them, Languerand’s grandfather told the judge during the sentencing hearing.

Languerand pleaded guilty in November to a single charge of assaulting law enforcement with a dangerous weapon. Authorities said he hurled objects, including an orange traffic barrier, at police and took an officer’s riot shield on January 6, 2021. He was 26 at the time he entered the guilty plea.

Languerand bragged about the attack on social media, vowing that “next time we come back with rifles”.

His defence lawyer proposed a one-year sentence with credit for time served in custody, saying Languerand has demonstrated a willingness to hold down a job and follow the law, despite trauma and hardship.

A mob of former US President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington, DC, on January 6 last year after Trump delivered an incendiary speech not far from the White House earlier in the day.

For weeks, the Republican leader had falsely claimed the US presidential election was marred by widespread fraud, and he urged his supporters to “fight like hell” hours before the riot erupted.

The US House of Representatives later impeached the Republican leader for “incitement of insurrection”.

On the one-year anniversary of the deadly insurrection, US Attorney General Merrick Garland promised to ensure justice and accountability for what happened.

Garland said the US Justice Department has charged more than 725 defendants in relation to the January 6 events.

The most severe charges have been reserved for people accused of assaulting police officers and of being involved in planning to disrupt Congress’s certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory, which was taking place when the riot broke out.

“By now, though, we have charged over 325 defendants with felonies — many for assaulting officers, and many for corruptly obstructing, or attempting to obstruct an official proceeding,” Garland said at that time. “Twenty defendants charged with felonies have already pled guilty.”

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters