National Security

Capitol rioter who assaulted officers during attack sentenced to more than 5 years

Rioters loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

A Capitol rioter who assaulted officers during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection was sentenced to more than five years in prison on Friday for multiple charges stemming from his actions before and on that day. 

A Justice Department (DOJ) release states that 35-year-old Ronald Sandlin from Millington, Tenn., was sentenced to 63 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers during the riot. 

Court documents state that Sandlin and two co-conspirators planned to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power starting in December 2020. On Dec. 31, he posted on Facebook that he was organizing a caravan to travel to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. 

Sandlin and the other conspirators started a Facebook chat to start planning on the same day, the DOJ said.

He watched television coverage of former President Trump’s rally at the Ellipse that preceded the riot on Jan. 6 and then livestreamed a video in which he called on “patriots” to “take the Capitol,” per the department. He said “freedom is paid for with blood” four times during the video. 

Sandlin and the two other conspirators traveled to the Capitol wearing gas and face masks, helmets and shin guards, according to the DOJ. The department said Sandlin was also armed with a knife.

They scaled bike barricades and moved past officers, entering the building at the Upper West Terrace door, per the release. While they were inside, the department said they pushed against officers who were guarding an exterior door to the Capitol Rotunda, forcing the door open to let a mob move inside. 

“You’re going to die, get out of the way,” Sandlin shouted to the officers, according to the DOJ. 

The three individuals then went up a set of stairs to a hallway outside the Senate chamber, where Sandlin told others in the mob to stop Capitol Police officers from locking the doors and shoved officers to keep the doors open, the department said. 

After the rioters got into the Senate Gallery, the release states Sandlin recorded a video with his cellphone in which he said, “We did it. We took it.” 

Sandlin then smoked marijuana in the Rotunda after leaving the Gallery and stole a book from a desk in an office on the Senate side of the Capitol, per the DOJ. 

Sandlin pleaded guilty to the charges he faced in September. Both of Sandlin’s co-conspirators have pleaded guilty to charges that were filed against them and are awaiting sentencing. 

Sandlin was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution in addition to the prison sentence. Prosecutors were asking for him to be sentenced for 63 months but also requested he pay a $20,000 fine. 

A court filing from earlier this month also said that Sandlin attempted to sell footage he took during the insurrection to Alexandra Pelosi, a documentary filmmaker and the daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The filing states that it does not appear that any transaction was ever made. 

Alexandra Pelosi interviewed Sandlin while he was in jail, according to the filing.

Tags Alexandra Pelosi Capitol rioter conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding Jan 6 insurrection Ronald Saladin

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