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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 23, 2023

Colorado Man Sentenced For Assault on Law Enforcement During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

Defendant Assaulted Numerous Officers with an Aerosol Irritant

            WASHINGTON – A Colorado man was sentenced to prison today for 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.

            Robert Gieswein, 26, of Woodland Park, Colorado, was sentenced to 48 months in prison for two counts of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Trevor N. McFadden ordered 36 months of supervised release, and restitution of $2,000 to the Architect of the Capitol.

            According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Gieswein encountered a small group of Proud Boys members in downtown Washington, D.C. Gieswein was dressed in a camouflage paramilitary kit, and he was carrying a baseball bat. These individuals invited Gieswein to stay with them throughout the day. At some point, one of the Proud Boys members gave Gieswein a piece of orange duct tape to place on his helmet for the purpose of identifying him as a “friendly.” Gieswein walked with the small group of Proud Boys to the area surrounding the Washington Monument, where he encountered a large group of individuals who identified as Proud Boys members, as well as others.

            Shortly after 10 a.m., Gieswein marched with the group of Proud Boys from the Washington Monument to the Capitol. After marching with the Proud Boys group for nearly three hours, Gieswein arrived at the Peace Monument shortly before 1:00 p.m. A large mob, including the defendant, rushed into the restricted area of the Capitol grounds and ultimately to the plaza to the west of the Capitol. While in the west plaza, Gieswein participated with other rioters in, among other things, pushing on a barricade held by police that they were using to set a line between themselves and the rioters. Gieswein was stopped by a man with a microphone and asked how he was doing. In response, Gieswein stated, among other things, that “this” was “crazy,” and that he “would die for this.” Asked what the solution was to “this right here,” Gieswein stated, to “execute these fascists.” Moments prior to making the statement, the defendant threw a water bottle at a line of police officers.

            Shortly before 2:00 p.m., the crowd pushed up the stairs under the Inauguration scaffolding that led from the west plaza to the upper west terrace, and Gieswein joined in this push. At the top of the stairs, the defendant sprayed an aerosol irritant at three members of the U.S. Capitol Police, who were attempting to prevent the crowd from further advancing toward the Capitol building.

            Defendant Gieswein continued to advance with the crowd toward the Capitol building and, again, met a line of officers attempting to prevent the crowd from advancing. Gieswein sprayed his aerosol canister at a line of officers at the top of the stairs leading to the upper west terrace. Gieswein was one of the first rioters to reach the façade of the building, and he watched as the window adjacent to the Senate wing door was breached at approximately 2:13 p.m. He entered through that window, and he was one of the first rioters to enter the building. At approximately 2:29 p.m., the defendant again sprayed his aerosol substance at two other Capitol Police officers.

            At approximately 2:34 p.m., the defendant sprayed his aerosol substance at a group of officers who were in the process of arresting another rioter. At least one officer was hit by the spray and experienced a bodily injury. In response, officers attempted to arrest Gieswein, and a scuffle ensued. Gieswein attempted to punch at least one officer.

            Inside the Rotunda, shortly after 3:00 p.m., Gieswein participated with other rioters in pushing against a group of police officers who were trying to prevent the rioters from advancing up a hallway that led to the House Speaker’s office. Gieswein and others were unable to break through the line of officers and were pushed back into the Rotunda. Shortly thereafter, the defendant exited the Capitol.

            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 District of Colorado.

            This case was investigated by the FBI Denver Field Office and the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified Gieswein as #10 in its seeking information photos. Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.

            In the 29 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,000 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including nearly 350 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. 

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
23-349
Updated June 23, 2023