Kentucky Man Found Guilty of Using Pepper Spray to Assault Law Enforcement and Other Charges Related to Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Carried Confederate Battle Flag Throughout the East Front
WASHINGTON – A Kentucky man was found guilty in the District of Columbia on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023, of nine charges—six felonies and three misdemeanors—related to his conduct during the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol. 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.
Israel Easterday, 21, of Munfordville, Kentucky, was convicted by a jury of the following six felonies: civil disorder; two counts of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon; entering and remaining in restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; and engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon.
In addition to the felonies, Easterday was convicted of three misdemeanor offenses: disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
U.S. District Chief Judge James E. Boasberg will sentence Easterday on April 1, 2024.
According to evidence presented during the trial, Easterday traveled from Kentucky to Washington, D.C., because he was upset about what he perceived as government corruption related to the 2020 presidential election. He then joined the mob that stormed the Capitol building’s east side while wearing a black beanie with the logo “I ♥ TRUMP” and carrying a Confederate battle flag.
At approximately 2:30 p.m., members of Congress, Senators, and their staffs were still inside the Capitol building and in the process of being evacuated. At that same time, Easterday was among the mob of rioters just outside the Capitol building’s East Rotunda doors as rioters persistently tried to enter the building, using objects like a flagpole, among other items, to smash the windows of those doors. A small group of U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officers, with their backs against the wall, were all that stood in the rioters’ way.
As one of those USCP officers dealt with another rioter, Easterday blasted the officer in the face with pepper spray, injuring and temporarily incapacitating the officer. A few minutes later, the officer collapsed, which enabled another rioter to steal his baton.
Soon thereafter, an unknown rioter handed Easterday a second can of pepper spray, which Easterday—smiling—used to indiscriminately spray another small group of officers, hitting at least one of them in the face. That officer, too, was temporarily incapacitated.
A few minutes later, the rioters succeeded in breaching the East Rotunda doors. At approximately 2:39 p.m., Easterday illegally entered the Capitol building through those doors and then grabbed multiple other rioters and pulled them into the building with him. From there, Easterday climbed the Gallery Stairs to the Capitol building’s third floor, which he roamed before returning to the East Rotunda doors and exiting at about 2:51 p.m.
FBI agents arrested Easterday on Dec. 8, 2022, in Miami, Florida.
The court 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 Offices for the Western District of Kentucky, the Southern District of Florida, and the Middle District of Florida.
This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Louisville and Washington Field Offices, which identified Easterday as BOLO (Be on the Lookout) #177 on its seeking information photos. Significant assistance was provided by the United States Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.
In the 33 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,100 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 400 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, a felony. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.
Updated October 27, 2023
Press Release Number: 23-654