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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 16, 2023

Florida Man Sentenced to Prison For Striking Officer During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

Defendant Took Part in Attack on Officers in Lower West Terrace Area

            WASHINGTON — A Florida man was sentenced today for a felony charge for his actions 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.

            Mason Joel Courson, 27, of Tamarac, Florida, was sentenced to 57 months in prison for assaulting, resisting, or impeding a law enforcement officer with a dangerous weapon. Courson pleaded guilty on Nov. 30, 2022, in the District of Columbia. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras ordered 36 months of supervised release, and restitution of $2,000.

            According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Courson was part of a mob that confronted law enforcement officers at the Archway and tunnel areas leading into the Capitol building from the lower west terrace. By approximately 4:20 p.m., hundreds of rioters were gathered there, some of whom were throwing and/or swinging various objects at a group of law enforcement officers.

            During the violence, at approximately 4:27 p.m., another rioter, Jack Wade Whitton, climbed over a railing and began striking an officer with a crutch, also kicking him. Whitton then grabbed the officer and, along with Logan Barnhart and another rioter, dragged the officer down the steps and into the crowd. Courson, who was at the bottom of the steps, beat the officer with a police baton, as other rioters struck him with other objects. The officer sustained physical injuries, including bruising and abrasions.

            Courson is among a group of nine defendants named in an indictment in this case that was returned in the District of Columbia. Justin Jersey, Jack Wade Whitton, Logan James Barnhart, and Peter Francis Stager have all previously pleaded guilty in this matter.

            The case is being 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 Florida.

            The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified Courson as #129 in its seeking information photos, as well as the FBI’s Miami Field Office. Significant assistance has been provided in the investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department, the U.S. Capitol Police, and other FBI field offices.

            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: 
23-332
Updated June 16, 2023