DOJ charges 5 Floridians accused of attacking 7 police officers during Capitol insurrection
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DOJ charges 5 Floridians accused of attacking 7 police officers during Capitol insurrection

The Justice Department unveiled a major indictment Thursday against five Floridians accused of attacking at least seven police officers during the US Capitol insurrection.

Prosecutors say the defendants, all from the Tampa Bay area, repeatedly attacked members of Washington, D.C.’s police force. They allegedly used stolen riot shields and flagpoles to assault officers in the head and neck, and later resorted to punching, kicking, and elbowing the officers.

The indictment includes 19 criminal counts, which is among the most for a Capitol riot case.

The defendants were arrested last week. They haven’t entered a plea yet, though some of the defendants will appear Thursday in DC federal court. Some were released from jail, according to court filings, but prosecutors are asking a judge to keep at least one defendant detained.

Prosecutors say Jonathan Pollock charged at police with a flagpole, dragged two officers down a set of stairs, kneed a police officer, punched two officers in the face, grabbed at one officer’s neck and pinned them to the ground, and rammed a stolen police shield into an officer’s throat.

He wore tactical gear and a military outfit and was at the Capitol with his sister, Olivia Pollock. Prosecutors say she elbowed a police officer and repeatedly tried to rip away officers’ batons.

The charging documents say that Michael Perkins threw a flagpole at the police line, and later “thrust[ed] the flagpole into the chest of a police officer.” After that happened, Perkins allegedly raised the flagpole over his head and swung it at an officer, either hitting their head or back.

Prosecutors say Joseph Hutchinson helped breach a fence and kicked officers that were trying to prevent rioters from further breaching the Capitol. Hutchinson was also wearing tactical gear.

A fifth man, Joshua Doolin, was charged with the group but isn’t accused of assaulting anyone. Prosecutors said he was spotted near the Capitol carrying “zip tie handcuffs tucked in his belt” and that he had a canister of chemical irritants that “appear to belong” to police, for use in riot control situations. Prosecutors didn’t say how Doolin obtained the canister or the handcuffs.

The case highlights the violence that police faced at the hands of the pro-Trump mob, which many officers have described as a harrowing life-or-death experience. Nonetheless, many of former President Donald Trump’s allies have whitewashed the events of January 6, downplayed the violence, and claimed that the crowd basically resembled a routine tourist visit at the Capitol.

Nearly 530 people have been charged with crimes stemming from the Capitol attack. All five defendants in this case hail from Florida, which has the most defendants of any state in the country, with 62 in total. The states with the next-most defendants are Pennsylvania and Texas.

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