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Press Release

Tennessee Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Police During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Assaulted Police Officer with Reinforced Knuckle Gloves

            WASHINGTON – A Tennessee man pleaded guilty today to one felony and one misdemeanor related to 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.

            Ronald Colton McAbee, 29, of Unionville, Tennessee, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of assaulting, resisting, or impeding an officer and a misdemeanor charge of act of physical violence on the Capitol grounds before U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras in the District of Columbia.

            Judge Contreras scheduled a sentencing hearing for Feb. 29, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. McAbee will proceed to trial on Oct. 2, 2023, on the other charges filed against him. McAbee was charged in a superseding indictment on Nov. 12, 2021, for his actions on January 6th. 

            According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, after a crowd of rioters had breached barricades surrounding the Capitol, McAbee and others made their way to the Lower West Terrace Archway, where a group of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) offices had formed a police line to prevent rioters from entering the building.

            At about 4:20 p.m., hundreds of individuals had gathered outside the Archway, some throwing and/or swinging various makeshift weapons at the group of law enforcement officers. At about 4:27 p.m., an MPD officer, who was positioned toward the opening of the Archway, was knocked to the ground, kicked, and stripped of his baton. At this time, McAbee was positioned on the south side of the Archway and was able to observe the assault.

            A second MPD officer then stepped off the police line to assist the downed officer. McAbee witnessed this, yelled at the officer who had arrived to assist, and swung his arms and hands toward the officer’s head and torso. Court documents say that McAbee made contact with the officer and was wearing reinforced knuckle gloves at the time of the assault.

            McAbee was arrested on Aug. 17, 2021, in Nashville, Tennessee.

            The Court 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 Middle and Eastern Districts of Tennessee.

            The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington, Memphis, and Knoxville Field Offices, which identified McAbee as BOLO (Be on the Lookout) #134 on its seeking information photos. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.

            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 investigation remains ongoing.

            Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit

Updated September 25, 2023

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 23-574