An Illinois man, James McNamara, has been sentenced to 12 months in prison, 24 months of supervised release, and ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution for assaulting law enforcement officers during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. McNamara pleaded guilty to one count of assaulting a federal officer and admitted to swinging his arms and fist at a Metropolitan Police Department Officer during the incident. He also used a bike rack to ram the outer set of closed doors multiple times. Over the past 31 months, more than 1,106 individuals have been arrested for crimes related to the Capitol breach, including over 350 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, with assistance from the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.
Illinois Man Sentenced for Assaulting Law Enforcement During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
The recent sentencing of James McNamara, a 61-year-old resident of Chicago, Illinois, for assaulting law enforcement during the Jan. 6 Capitol Breach has highlighted the importance of upholding the rule of law in the face of such acts of violence. McNamara’s actions disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress that was convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election. The sentencing, carried out by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, serves as a reminder that individuals who engage in such violent acts will be held accountable for their actions.
Overview of the Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
The Jan. 6 Capitol Breach is widely regarded as one of the darkest days in American history. On that day, a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, causing chaos and destruction. They breached the security barriers, vandalized offices, and assaulted law enforcement officers who were tasked with maintaining order and protecting the Capitol and its occupants.
Importance of Law Enforcement During the Breach
Law enforcement played a crucial role during the Jan. 6 Capitol Breach. They put their lives on the line to protect members of Congress, staff, and the integrity of the democratic process. The assault on law enforcement officers during this unprecedented attack further underscores the significance of their role and the need to hold accountable those who seek to impede their duties.
Details of the Assault Incident
According to court documents, James McNamara traveled from his home in Illinois to Washington, D.C. to attend a rally on Jan. 6, 2021. Upon arriving at the U.S. Capitol, McNamara made his way to the North doors of the building, where he observed a crowd attempting to gain access. At approximately 3:13 p.m., McNamara witnessed protestors being forcibly removed from the building by law enforcement officers. He then lunged at the officers, swinging his arms with a clenched fist, and assaulted a Metropolitan Police Department Officer.
Defendant’s Guilty Plea
James McNamara pleaded guilty on May 8, 2023, to one count of assaulting a federal officer. This plea marks a significant acknowledgement of his actions and a step toward taking responsibility for the harm caused during the Jan. 6 Capitol Breach.
Sentencing by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson presided over the sentencing of James McNamara. After considering the nature of the offense and the impact it had on law enforcement and the functioning of the U.S. Congress, Judge Jackson sentenced McNamara to 12 months in prison and 24 months of supervised release. Additionally, McNamara was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution, emphasizing the financial consequences of his actions.
Name: James McNamara
Residence: Chicago, Illinois
James McNamara, a 61-year-old resident of Chicago, Illinois, was identified as the defendant in the case. The information regarding McNamara’s background and residency helps provide context to his involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol Breach.
McNamara’s Travel to Washington, D.C.
McNamara traveled from his home in Chicago, Illinois, to Washington, D.C. to attend a rally on Jan. 6, 2021. His journey to the nation’s capital sets the stage for the events that unfolded during the Capitol Breach.
Arrival at the U.S. Capitol
Upon arriving at the U.S. Capitol, McNamara made his way to the West Terrace and proceeded to the North doors of the building. This location became the focal point for his participation in the breach.
Observation of Crowd at North Doors
McNamara observed a crowd attempting to gain access through the closed North doors of the U.S. Capitol. This observation likely fueled his later actions as he witnessed the resolve of the crowd and the enforcement efforts to prevent their entry.
Witnessing Protestors Being Removed
At approximately 3:13 p.m., McNamara witnessed protestors being forcibly removed from the U.S. Capitol through the closed North doors by law enforcement officers. This moment likely escalated the emotions and tensions on the scene.
Assaulting a Metropolitan Police Department Officer
McNamara, spurred by the events he witnessed, lunged at the officers and assaulted a Metropolitan Police Department Officer. His actions were aggressive and aimed at impeding the efforts of law enforcement to restore order.
Ramming the Outer Set of Closed Doors
Court records indicate that McNamara picked up a bike rack and used it to ram the outer set of closed doors. He struck the doors at least four times, displaying a willingness to resort to violence in an attempt to gain access to the building.
Forced Removal by Law Enforcement
Despite breaching the outer set of closed doors, McNamara was eventually forced away by law enforcement officers. Their determined efforts to maintain control and protect the Capitol successfully prevented further harm and unlawful entry.
Prosecution and Investigation
Involvement of U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia took a leading role in prosecuting the case against James McNamara. Their expertise in cases involving federal offenses and their commitment to upholding justice and the rule of law were instrumental in bringing accountability to those involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol Breach.
Assistance from U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois provided valuable assistance in the investigation and prosecution of James McNamara. Collaboration between different U.S. Attorney’s Offices reinforces the commitment to justice and ensures comprehensive investigations.
Investigation by FBI’s Chicago Field Office and Washington Field Office
The FBI’s Chicago Field Office and Washington Field Office spearheaded the investigation into McNamara’s actions. Their thorough investigative processes helped identify McNamara as #471 on the seeking information photos, ultimately leading to his arrest and subsequent guilty plea.
Identification of McNamara as #471 on seeking information photos
Through the collaborative efforts of the FBI’s Chicago Field Office and Washington Field Office, James McNamara was identified as #471 on the seeking information photos. These photos, widely circulated and analyzed, played a crucial role in apprehending those involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol Breach.
Prison Sentence of 12 Months
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced James McNamara to 12 months in prison. This sentence highlights the gravity of his actions and the need for a significant punishment to deter future acts of violence against law enforcement.
24 Months of Supervised Release
In addition to the prison sentence, McNamara was also ordered to serve 24 months of supervised release. This period of supervision aims to ensure his compliance with the law and facilitate his successful reintegration into society.
Restitution Order of $2,000
As part of his sentencing, McNamara was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution. Restitution serves as a means of holding individuals accountable for the financial harm caused by their criminal actions.
National Impact of the Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
Number of Arrests Since Jan. 6
Since the Jan. 6 Capitol Breach, over 1,106 individuals have been arrested across nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the attack. This extensive number of arrests reflects the commitment of law enforcement agencies and the justice system to identify and apprehend those responsible for the breach.
Focusing on Crimes Related to Assaulting or Impeding Law Enforcement
A significant emphasis has been placed on prosecuting crimes related to assaulting or impeding law enforcement officers during the Jan. 6 Capitol Breach. Over 350 individuals have been charged specifically with these offenses, highlighting the importance of upholding the authority and safety of law enforcement officers.
Tips and Assistance
FBI’s Contact Information for Tips and Information
For individuals with tips or information regarding the Jan. 6 Capitol Breach or any related criminal activity, the FBI encourages them to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov. This contact information provides an avenue for individuals to contribute to ongoing investigations and support law enforcement efforts.
Final Remarks on the Sentencing of James McNamara
The sentencing of James McNamara for assaulting law enforcement during the Jan. 6 Capitol Breach serves as a significant step towards holding accountable those responsible for the violence and disruption caused on that day. The 12-month prison sentence, 24 months of supervised release, and $2,000 restitution order reflect the severity of McNamara’s actions and send a message that such acts of violence will not go unpunished. The collaborative efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, and the FBI’s Chicago Field Office and Washington Field Office highlight the commitment of law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate and prosecute individuals involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol Breach. As the nation continues to grapple with the aftermath of this unprecedented attack, it is essential to recognize the significance of upholding the rule of law and the critical role played by law enforcement in safeguarding the democratic process. Through continued investigations and prosecutions, the justice system seeks to restore faith in institutions and ensure accountability for those who sought to undermine the foundations of democracy.