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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Tennessee Man Arrested for Assault on Law Enforcement During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

Defendant Accused of Removing Metal Barriers and Using Plywood to Push Back Officers Protecting Perimeter of Building

            WASHINGTON — A Tennessee man was arrested today for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 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.

            Joshua John Portlock, 40, of Smyrna, is charged with engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds, civil disorder, and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers, among other charges. He was arrested in Smyrna and made his initial court appearance today in the Middle District of Tennessee. He was released pending a hearing Nov. 9 in the District of Columbia.

            According to court documents, at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 6, Portlock was part of a crowd at the western front of the U.S. Capitol grounds. He and other rioters pushed and removed metal barriers supporting a line of officers from the U.S. Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department. Officers then established a perimeter line closer to the Capitol without the assistance of barricades. At this point, Portlock picked up a large piece of what appears to be plywood and pushed it against a group of law enforcement officers. Later, about 3 p.m., Portlock had moved to the Lower West Terrace tunnel, where he joined other rioters in attempting to push through a line of officers. He was in this area for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, assaulting and obstructing officers and assisting others in collectively using their body mass to push back the line of law enforcement. Additionally, on at least two occasions, he participated in moving what appears to be stolen law enforcement shields to the front of the line of rioters. After Portlock exited the tunnel, Portlock appeared to provide assistance to two officers who had been assaulted by other rioters.

            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 Middle District of Tennessee.

            The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Memphis Field Office, as well as the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified Portlock as #97 in its seeking information photos. Assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.

            In the nine months since Jan. 6, more than 650 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 190 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.

            The charges contained in any criminal complaint or indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

 

 

Updated November 3, 2021