Skip to main content
Press Release

Rochester Man Pleads Guilty To Assaulting A Federal Court Security Officer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

ROCHESTER, N.Y.- Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Swyn B. Nelson, 48, of Rochester, NY, pleaded guilty to assault on a federal officer, before U.S. District Judge David G. Larimer. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 8 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey, who is handling the case, stated that, in the morning on October 5, 2016, a federal Court Security Officer was stationed inside the front entrance of the Kenneth B. Keating Federal Building, 100 State Street, Rochester, New York.  At that time, he was performing his official duties, which included controlling access to the building, assisting in screening individuals entering the building for any prohibited items (including cameras, cell phones, weapons and explosives) and directing such individuals through a walk-through metal detector.  Court Security Officers are employed by a private company pursuant to a security contract with the United States Marshal’s Service.  Pursuant to the contract, Court Security Officers are responsible for, among other things, entrance control, roving patrol, stationary post assignments, and escort duties at the Kenneth B. Keating Federal Building.

Later in the morning on October 5, 2016, the defendant entered the front entrance of the Kenneth B. Keating Federal Building to report to the United States Probation Office.  When the Court Security Officer asked for photo identification, the defendant threw his wallet and personal items into a tray in such a way that it caused some of the items to bounce out of the tray.  The defendant stated that he was at the building to report to his Probation Officer.  The defendant was asked to wait before entering the walk-through metal detector.  The defendant did not comply with this order.  As a result, the defendant was asked to walk through the metal detector a second time.  The defendant did so and his personal items were then returned to him.  At that time, the defendant raised his voice, stating “I want to shout at you,” and then walked aggressively toward the Court Security Officer in a restricted area (which is marked off by stanchions, rope and a table).  The Court Security Officer ordered the defendant out of the restricted area.  The defendant then charged at the Court Security Officer and struck the Court Security Officer on the right side of the head with a closed fist. 
The plea is the result of an investigation by the United States Marshal’s Service, under the direction of United States Marshal Charles Salina.

Sentencing is scheduled for December 20, 2016, at 3:00 p.m., before Judge Larimer.

Updated November 16, 2016