Kansas Man Sentenced on Felony Charge For Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
Defendant Joined in Pushing Against Officers In Confrontations Inside Capitol Building
WASHINGTON – A Kansas man was sentenced today on 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, was sentenced to 20 months in prison for assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers. Eckerman pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia in November 2022. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper ordered 24 months of supervised release and $2,000 in restitution.
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 encouraged them by yelling at the 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.
While inside the building, Eckerman participated in three separate breaches of police lines. First, 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. Second, 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 pushed the officer—forcibly resisting, impeding, and interfering with the officer—which, along with the actions of others in the mob, caused the officer to stumble down some steps, leaving the officer vulnerable. While that officer was on the ground, another rioter sprayed him with a fire extinguisher. Eckerman participated in a third physical breach of a police line just outside the House chamber, at a time Congresspeople and staff members were still sheltering in place inside.
After that third breach, Eckerman continued moving through the building, and at one point entered the Rayburn Conference Room, where he posed for photographs. He finally exited the Capitol at approximately 2:44 p.m.
Eckerman was arrested on Sept. 20, 2021.
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 Offices for the District of Kansas and the Middle District of Florida.
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 26 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 999 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 320 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.