A California man, Daniel Joseph “DJ” Rodriguez, has been sentenced to prison for felony charges related to the assault of a police officer during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Rodriguez used an electroshock device on a Metropolitan Police Department officer, causing disruption to a joint session of the U.S. Congress. He has been sentenced to 151 months in prison, along with other penalties including supervised release and restitution. This case highlights the ongoing investigations and prosecution of individuals involved in the Capitol breach, with over 1,000 arrests made so far. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Justice Department’s National Security Division led the prosecution, with assistance from other law enforcement agencies.
California Man Sentenced to Prison for Assaulting Police Officer During Capitol Breach
On June 21, 2023, a California man named Daniel Joseph “DJ” Rodriguez was sentenced to prison for felony charges related to the assault of a police officer during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Rodriguez used an electroshock device on a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer, contributing to the disruption of a joint session of the U.S. Congress that was convened to verify and count the electoral votes for the 2020 presidential election.
Defendant’s Actions Disrupted Joint Session of U.S. Congress
Daniel Joseph Rodriguez’s actions, along with those of others, caused a significant disruption to the joint session of the U.S. Congress. The purpose of this session was to confirm the electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election. The assault on the police officer and the broader breach of the Capitol building interfered with the democratic process and posed a threat to the safety and security of lawmakers and law enforcement personnel.
Defendant Sentenced to Prison and Ordered to Pay Restitution
As a result of his involvement in the assault and other charges related to the Capitol breach, Daniel Joseph Rodriguez was sentenced to 151 months in prison. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson also ordered Rodriguez to pay restitution of $2,000 to the Architect of the Capitol and $96,927 to the Metropolitan Police Department for damages caused to the victim. In addition to the prison term, Rodriguez will serve 36 months of supervised release.
Defendant’s Role in Telegram Group Chat
Leading up to the events of January 6, 2021, Daniel Joseph Rodriguez served as the administrator of a Telegram group chat called “PATRIOTS45MAGA Gang.” Originally formed as a platform for supporters of former President Trump during the lead-up to the 2020 Presidential election, the group evolved into a forum planning violence against the federal government. Rodriguez and his co-conspirator, Edward Badalian, exchanged hundreds of messages advocating for war, revolution, and the targeting of perceived traitors.
Defendant’s Travels to Washington, D.C.
On January 6, 2021, Daniel Joseph Rodriguez and his group traveled from California to Washington, D.C., to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally on the National Mall. After the rally, Rodriguez unlawfully made his way from the Ellipse to the Capitol building, bypassing the security measures and entering the lower west terrace tunnel. This unauthorized access allowed Rodriguez and others to directly confront law enforcement officers and engage in violent activities.
Defendant’s Actions at the Capitol Building
Video footage from the incident shows Daniel Joseph Rodriguez participating in various acts of vandalism and aggression. He can be seen deploying a fire extinguisher at a line of officers and using a long wooden pole to shove and physically engage with law enforcement. Rodriguez was part of a coordinated effort to gain access to the Capitol building and disrupt the proceedings taking place inside.
Assault on Police Officer with Electroshock Weapon
One of Daniel Joseph Rodriguez’s most significant offenses was the assault on a Metropolitan Police Department officer using an electroshock weapon. After receiving the weapon from a fellow rioter, Rodriguez proceeded to use it against the officer’s neck. Multiple instances of violence were captured on video, demonstrating the intentional and dangerous nature of Rodriguez’s actions.
Defendant’s Vandalism and Communication of Assault
In addition to the assault on the police officer, Daniel Joseph Rodriguez engaged in further acts of vandalism and destruction within the Capitol building. He vandalized offices, ransacked rooms, broke windows, and stole various items. Before, during, and after these destructive acts, Rodriguez communicated with members of the Telegram group chat, sharing images and texts that detailed his assault on the Capitol and his desire for further violence and destruction.
Prosecution and Investigation of the Case
The prosecution of Daniel Joseph Rodriguez’s case was led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Justice Department’s National Security Division. Additional support was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. The investigation involved the FBI’s Los Angeles and Washington Field Offices, as well as cooperation from the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.
Arrests and Charges Related to Capitol Breach
Since January 6, 2021, over 1,000 individuals have been arrested across nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol. Among these arrests, close to 350 individuals have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement officers. The investigation into the events of that day remains ongoing, with law enforcement agencies actively pursuing leads and collecting evidence.
Tips and Contact Information
Individuals with any information related to the Capitol breach or those involved in the assault on law enforcement officers can provide tips by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visiting tips.fbi.gov. By coming forward and providing information, the public can play a critical role in assisting law enforcement with their ongoing efforts to hold all responsible individuals accountable for their actions on January 6, 2021.