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Press Release


For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin

United States Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced that on January 5, 2023, Chief U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper sentenced Ashton Howard (age: 29) to 60 months in federal prison for obstructing a law enforcement officer while that officer was engaged in his official duties during a civil disorder, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 231(a)(3). Howard, who entered a guilty plea to the offense last year, also will spend three years on supervised release following his prison term and will be required to pay over $29,000 in restitution related to medical expenses resulting from his offense.

According to court filings, following the shooting of Jacob Blake on August 23, 2020, Howard was part of a crowd that gathered near the location of the shooting. Some members of the crowd became violent, and a police vehicle was damaged. As Kenosha Police Officers attempted to secure and move the damaged vehicle, Howard threw a brick at one of the officers. The brick hit the officer in the head, knocking him unconscious. After the brick struck the officer, video showed the defendant nearby yelling “I dropped his b*tch ass! I dropped his b*tch ass!” The officer subsequently was transported to the hospital.

Court filings also indicate that Howard’s phone contained videos showing the victim being hit with the brick and several still images from the video showing the victim on the ground with emojis indicating “quiet” and “mouth shut.” After the assault, the defendant bragged to multiple individuals that he was the person who hit the officer on August 23.

“Every day, law enforcement professionals – like the police captain whom Mr. Howard hit in the head with a brick – make sacrifices and put their own lives and well-being on the line to protect all of us,” stated U.S. Attorney Haanstad.  “Unlike individuals who sought to peacefully voice concern over social and racial justice issues in Kenosha and elsewhere, Mr. Howard chose to engage in violence – intentionally injuring someone who was seeking to prevent further violence in his community. I commend the resilience of this officer in quickly returning to duty despite his injuries and for his continued service to all who live and work in Kenosha.”   

"Violence directed at the men and women of law enforcement who are sworn to protect the people of Wisconsin is completely unacceptable," said Special Agent in Charge Michael Hensle. "The FBI will continue to use all available resources and will bring those to justice who assault law enforcement officers."

“Today’s sentencing of the defendant is reassuring that violence, especially when directed towards law enforcement, is never acceptable in our society,” said Kenosha Police Chief Patrick Patton.  “The Kenosha Police Department is extremely appreciative of the work conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s office regarding this case.”

 The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Kenosha Police Department investigated the case. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin Proctor and John Scully.

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Updated January 6, 2023