Kansas Man Pleads Guilty to Felony Charge for Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
Defendant Joined in Pushing Against Officers in Confrontations Inside Capitol Building
WASHINGTON – A Kansas man pleaded guilty today to 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.
Michael Eckerman, 38, of Wichita, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers.
According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Eckerman illegally entered the Capitol grounds. At approximately 2 p.m., Eckerman observed rioters fighting with police officers outside the Capitol and began yelling at officers that they were “traitors to the country.” He and others then walked through scaffolding and up a set of steps leading to the Upper West Terrace. He entered the Capitol through the Senate Wing Doors at approximately 2:24 p.m. He joined a crowd in pushing their collective bodies forward to breach a police line in the Crypt. Eckerman and others then surged forward and funneled toward the east side of the Capitol.
Near the Memorial Doors, he and others in the mob encountered another small group of officers who were trying to block access to nearby stairs leading to Statuary Hall and the area near the Speaker’s Lobby. Eckerman pushed his way to the front of the stand-off and once again used his body as part of a collective surge to get past the small line of law enforcement officers. At this moment, he was face to face with an officer with the U.S. Capitol Police, who put his hand on Eckerman’s shoulder. Eckerman moved his body forward to forcibly resist, impede, and interfere with the officer, which, along with the actions of others in the mob, caused the officer to stumble down some steps.
Eckerman continued moving through the building, and at one point entered the Rayburn Conference Room. He finally exited the Capitol at approximately 2:44 p.m.
Eckerman was arrested on Sept. 20, 2021. He is to be sentenced on Feb. 14, 2023. He faces a statutory maximum of eight years in prison for assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers, 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.
This 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 District of Kansas.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Kansas City Field Office, and its Wichita Resident Agency, the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and the FBI’s Boston Field Office and its Lowell, Massachusetts and Bedford, New Hampshire Resident Agencies. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.
In the 22 months since Jan. 6, 2021, nearly 900 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 275 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.