Maryland Man Sentenced on Felony and Misdemeanor Charges Related to Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Assaulted Police and an Associated Press Journalist
WASHINGTON – A Maryland man was sentenced in the District of Columbia today on felony and misdemeanor charges related to his conduct during the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol breach. 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.
Rodney Kenneth Milstreed, 56, of Finksburg, Maryland, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge James E. Boasberg to 60 months in prison, 24 months of supervised release, and ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution.
Milstreed pleaded guilty on April 14, 2023, to assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers using a deadly or dangerous weapon and receipt and possession of an unregistered firearm, both felonies, and assault by striking, beating, or wounding, a misdemeanor.
During the sentencing hearing, Chief Judge Boasberg found that Milstreed’s conduct warranted a sentencing enhancement under the Sentencing Guidelines provision for felony offenses involving terrorism because his crimes were calculated to influence or affect the conduct of the government by intimidation or coercion and to retaliate against government conduct. As part of his plea agreement, Milstreed agreed that this sentencing enhancement applied and agreed that his conduct was, in fact, calculated to influence government action by intimidation and coercion.
According to court documents, before the events of Jan. 6, 2021, Milstreed planned to attend the "Stop the Steal" rally on the National Mall rally in Washington, D.C., to protest the results of the 2020 presidential election. Court documents say that Milstreed attempted to recruit friends to join him at the rally, procured a wooden club, injected steroids for several weeks, and worked out to get "jacked" ahead of January 6th. Milstreed indicated to others that he was prepared to "crack some skulls" at the Capitol.
On the morning of January 6, Milstreed took the train from his home in Maryland to Washington, D.C., carrying a wooden pick handle, approximately 4 feet long, with a blue "Trump" flag attached. Shortly before 1:00 p.m., Milstreed made his way to the restricted grounds of the U.S. Capitol and was behind the initial group of rioters who breached the police line at the Pennsylvania Avenue walkway. He then made his way to the front of the crowd at the West Plaza barricade, where he broke through the police line.
Shortly after 1:00 p.m., Milstreed and a large group of rioters swarmed the Upper West Plaza and attempted to overcome a group of officers who had formed a police line. Between approximately 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., Milstreed engaged with the crowd in an effort to break through the police barriers and eventually succeeded and made his way to the Upper West Terrace within yards of the entrance to the Capitol. During the fighting, Milstreed grabbed and yanked on a bike rack barrier fence the police were using in an attempt to prevent the mob from advancing further toward the Capitol. Milstreed also located a smoke grenade the police had deployed to disburse the crowd and threw it back into the police line.
While Milstreed was on the Upper West Plaza, shortly after 1:00 p.m., court documents say that he forcibly assaulted a group of U.S. Capitol Police officers by throwing his wooden pick handle, with the flag still attached, into the line of U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officers attempting to prevent the crowd from advancing. The pick handle hit a USCP officer and glanced off the officer's helmet.
In addition to the assault on police, Milstreed assaulted an Associated Press journalist on the Upper West Plaza. Here, Milstreed took notice of an individual in the crowd dressed in black, wearing a helmet-style gas mask and a lanyard with Associated Press lettering and carrying at least one large professional camera. This individual, a photographer for the Associated Press, was attacked by rioters in the area. Milstreed was one of the first to assault this individual and, in doing so, committed an act of striking, beating, or wounding the victim.
Specifically, Milstreed grabbed the photographer's backpack and yanked him down a set of steps to the Lower West Plaza. After the victim stumbled to the bottom of the stairs, Milstreed shoved him and advanced toward him threateningly. Additional rioters surrounded the victim and continued the assault, dragging him through the crowd, grabbing his media identification lanyard and his face and neck.
After the riot, Milstreed sent messages to friends celebrating his participation in the riot and his assaults on law enforcement and media members. Around 8:00 p.m. that evening, Milstreed told one individual, "We f— them federal cops up. They all ran when we got physical. LMFAO[.]” He then added, "Time for war."
Milstreed was arrested on May 24, 2022.
This case was 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 Districts of Maryland and Colorado.
The case was investigated by the FBI's Baltimore, Denver, and Washington Field Offices. Milstreed was identified by FBI Baltimore as BOLO (Be on the Lookout) #156 on the FBI’s seeking information photos. Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.
In the 32 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 396 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, a felony. The investigations are ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.
Updated September 22, 2023
Press Release Number: 23-568