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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 13, 2023

New York Man Pleads Guilty to Felony Charge For Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

Defendant Sprayed Multiple Officers With a Chemical Irritant

            WASHINGTON – A New York man pleaded guilty today to felony charges 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.

            Edward F. Rodriguez, 28, of Brooklyn, New York, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers, inflicting bodily injury.

            According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Rodriguez deployed bear attack deterrent spray on multiple police officers before and during the riots outside the U.S. Capitol Building. The assault was captured on video posted to social media. Rodriguez is also seen among a crowd of protesters at the lower-level terrace of the west side of the US Capitol where he points a black colored canister at visibly marked law enforcement officers manning a barricade on the terrace and sprays the officers with a bear attack deterrent spray before retreating back into the crowd. Rodriguez was also recorded on video being interviewed on the scene by an independent reporter. In that video, he states, “Here in America, we fight back. We will never surrender to dictatorship, corruption, communism, or socialism. We the people will never put up with their bullshit….”

            Additionally, in BWC video from Metropolitan Police Officers, Rodriguez was captured deploying bear attack deterrent spray at Metropolitan Police officers and United States Capitol Police officers stationed at the West front barrier of the Capitol grounds. During portions of these videos, Rodriguez wears a red mask, but for brief moments, he pulls the mask down below his face.

            Rodriguez was arrested on July 9, 2021, in Brooklyn, New York. He is to be sentenced on July 18, 2023 and faces a statutory maximum of eight 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.

            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 Eastern District of New York.

            The case is being investigated by the FBI New York Field Office and the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.

            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.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
23-140
Updated March 13, 2023