(Note: This release has been updated since it was initially posted on 9/13/22, changing the headline and clarifying earlier language about the alleged conduct).
WASHINGTON — A Georgia man pleaded guilty today to assaulting law enforcement officers with a dangerous weapon 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 presidential election.
Jack Wade Whitton, 32, of Locust Grove, Georgia, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia.
According to court documents, on Jan. 6, Whitton was part of a mob that confronted law enforcement officers at the Archway leading into the Capitol Building from the Lower West Terrace. During the violence, at approximately 4:27 p.m., another rioter knocked an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to the ground. At approximately the same time, Whitton climbed over a railing and began striking another officer with a crutch. Whitton then kicked at the first officer, who was still on the ground. He then grabbed the second officer, first by his baton, then by the helmet and the neck of his ballistic vest. He pulled him down and started to drag the officer down a set of steps in a prone position. Others joined him in dragging this officer into the crowd, where other rioters beat the officer with weapons, including a flagpole and baton.
Approximately 20 minutes later, at 4:48 p.m., Whitton walked up to the line of officers in the Archway and kicked at them. Someone standing between Whitton and the police line yelled at Whitton and others to stop. Instead, seconds later, Whitton ran back to the line of officers, kicked them, struck a riot shield held by an MPD officer, and shouted, “you’re gonna die tonight.”
At another point that afternoon, Whitton climbed up a wall dividing the Lower West Terrace from the Upper West Terrace. He threw an object at the line of officers there and reached over the fence to throw a punch at them.
Whitton was arrested in Locust Grove on April 1, 2021. He is to be sentenced on March 6, 2023. He faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison, as well as potential financial penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Whitton is among a group of defendants named in an indictment returned in the District of Columbia. Six others have pleaded not guilty, and another pleaded guilty on Sept. 7, 2022.
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 Northern District of Georgia.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified Whitton as #130 in its seeking information photos, as well as the FBI’s Atlanta 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 20 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 870 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 265 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.