In a significant development related to the January 6th Capitol breach, a Kentucky man has pleaded guilty to felony obstruction and assault charges. Joseph Howe, 41, admitted to unlawfully entering Capitol grounds and participating in acts of violence against law enforcement officers during the breach. Court documents reveal that Howe actively engaged in the attack, grabbed a riot shield from a police officer, and assisted in breaking through multiple lines of defense. This guilty plea comes as part of ongoing efforts by law enforcement to hold those responsible for the events of January 6th accountable for their actions. Howe is set to be sentenced on October 20, 2023.
On January 6, 2021, a Kentucky man named Joseph Howe pleaded guilty to felony obstruction and assault charges in connection with the breach of the U.S. Capitol. This incident caused significant disruption to a joint session of the U.S. Congress that was convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election. Howe’s actions, along with those of others involved, were deemed to be serious offenses that warranted legal consequences.
Howe, a 41-year-old resident of Magnolia, Kentucky, is scheduled to be sentenced on October 20, 2023. The charges he pleaded guilty to include obstruction of an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers. The severity of these charges reflects the gravity of his actions during the incident at the Capitol.
Details of the Incident
According to court documents, Howe made an appearance at the Capitol building on January 6, 2021. He was outfitted with a plate carrier vest, goggles, and a respirator mask. Howe marched with a group towards the Capitol and announced to a man with a video camera, “We’re getting in that building,” making his intentions clear. Despite objections from the man, Howe persisted, repeating his statement.
Wearing goggles and a gas mask, Howe entered the Capitol grounds under the scaffolding that covered the Northwest staircase. He encountered a group of rioters confronting a line of police officers. Court documents state that Howe grabbed a riot shield from a U.S. Capitol police officer, which led to an attack on the officer by members of the mob. The officer suffered a concussion and head trauma that required hospital treatment.
Continuing his assault, Howe proceeded up the stairs while in possession of a police baton. He made his way to the front of the crowd and grabbed a bike rack barrier from a line of police officers, helping to pass it back to the mob. Howe, along with other rioters, managed to break through additional lines of officers and were among the first to reach the Upper West Terrace and the Senate Wing Door. He forcefully kicked at the door, which was eventually opened by rioters already inside.
Passing through the Crypt to the Memorial Door, Howe removed his respirator mask and camouflage jacket, revealing his tactical armored vest. He joined a crowd of rioters and pushed through a small makeshift line of officers. It was at this point that Howe grabbed a fire extinguisher and fired it towards a group of police, directly hitting one of them in the eyes with the chemical agent.
Arrest and Investigation
Joseph Howe was arrested on October 28, 2022, in the state of Kentucky. Following his arrest, the case was taken up by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, along with the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. The assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky proved valuable in the prosecution of the case.
The investigation into the incident involved the FBI’s Washington and Louisville Field Offices. Their collaborative efforts, along with the cooperation of the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department, played a crucial role in gathering evidence and building a strong case against Howe. The involvement of a federal district court judge in determining his sentence adds further weight to the legal process.
The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines will be taken into consideration in determining the appropriate sentence for Howe. These guidelines provide a framework for judges to follow when sentencing individuals convicted of federal crimes. Other statutory factors will also be considered to ensure a fair and just sentencing outcome.
The successful prosecution of Joseph Howe’s case was made possible through the support of various law enforcement agencies. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky provided valuable assistance in the investigation and prosecution process, highlighting the importance of inter-district cooperation in addressing crimes of this nature.
The FBI’s Washington and Louisville Field Offices played a central role in the investigation, utilizing their expertise and resources to gather evidence and build a strong case against Howe. Additionally, the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department collaborated closely with federal authorities, sharing information and providing necessary support throughout the investigation.
The combined efforts of these agencies demonstrate the commitment of law enforcement to upholding justice and ensuring that those who violate the law are held accountable for their actions.
The breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, was a significant event that led to the arrest of over 1,060 individuals in nearly all 50 states. The subsequent investigation has revealed evidence of crimes committed by these individuals, with more than 350 individuals specifically charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.
The investigation into the events of January 6, 2021, remains ongoing. Law enforcement agencies are dedicated to thoroughly examining every aspect of the breach and bringing all those responsible to justice. The commitment to this investigation reflects the determination to uphold the rule of law and ensure the safety and security of the U.S. Capitol and its occupants.
Any individuals with information related to the events of January 6, 2021, are encouraged to come forward and provide their tips. The FBI has set up a dedicated hotline for this purpose, and individuals can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) to provide information. Online submissions can also be made at tips.fbi.gov. Every tip received is valuable and contributes to the ongoing investigation.
The case of Joseph Howe serves as a reminder of the importance of treating victims of crimes with compassion, fairness, and respect. The actions of individuals during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, had far-reaching consequences, and it is essential that justice is served.
Furthermore, Howe’s guilty plea highlights the adverse effects of gun crime in America. The use of force and weapons during the breach of the Capitol underscores the urgent need to address and reduce gun violence across the nation. By holding individuals accountable for their actions, law enforcement agencies play a critical role in safeguarding society and preserving the values of justice and security.
The ongoing investigation into the events of January 6, 2021, reflects the unwavering commitment of law enforcement agencies to uncover the truth and ensure that all those involved are held accountable. The collaborative efforts of federal, state, and local agencies continue to play a vital role in this process.
As the investigation progresses, it is crucial for individuals with information to come forward and provide their tips. The dedicated hotline established by the FBI and the online submission platform offer accessible ways for individuals to contribute to the ongoing investigation. Together, we can ensure that justice is served and that the rule of law prevails.