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Press Release

Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Law Enforcement Officer During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Repeatedly Struck Officer With Flagpole

            WASHINGTON – A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty today to a felony charge for assaulting law enforcement officers during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, which disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress that was in the process of ascertaining and counting the electoral votes related to the presidential election.

            Howard C. Richardson, 71, of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers. According to court documents, on Jan. 6, Richardson made his way to the restricted area of the U.S. Capitol grounds, passing by metal barriers and police officers attempting to keep the crowd away. He was carrying a flagpole that he initially waved while he was among the crowd. At about 1:38 p.m., Richardson was standing several feet away from the police line with the flagpole. He raised it and forcefully swung it downward to strike an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department who was standing behind a metal barricade. Richardson then struck the officer two more times, using enough force to break the flagpole.

            Richardson was arrested on Nov. 30, 2021, in Philadelphia. He is to be sentenced on Aug. 26, 2022. He faces a statutory maximum of eight years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

            The 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 Pennsylvania.

            The case was investigated by the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified Richardson as #362 in its seeking information photos, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania, Police Department, and the U.S. Capitol Police.

            In the 15 months since Jan. 6, 2021, nearly 800 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 250 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

Updated April 27, 2022

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 22-121