In a recent development concerning the events that transpired during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, a Texas man has pleaded guilty to felony charges related to his actions on that day. Ryan Taylor Nichols, a 32-year-old resident of Longview, Texas, pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers. Nichols, along with his friend and co-defendant, Alex Kirk Harkrider, traveled to Washington, D.C., with the belief that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. They engaged in planning and organizing their trip, equipped themselves with firearms and body armor, and actively participated in the violent activities that unfolded at the Capitol. Nichols will face sentencing at a later date, while Harkrider awaits his trial on charges related to January 6th. This case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. The investigation into the Capitol breach continues, with over 1,200 individuals charged thus far.
Plea to Felony Charges
Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
Disruption of U.S. Congress Joint Session
Identity and Arrest of Defendant
On November 7, 2023, a Texas man named Ryan Taylor Nichols pleaded guilty to two felony charges relating to his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The breach, which occurred during a joint session of the U.S. Congress, aimed to disrupt the process of ascertaining and counting the electoral votes for the 2020 presidential election. Nichols pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers, both of which are felony offenses. U.S. District Judge Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth accepted the plea and remanded Nichols into custody. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled for a later date.
Belief in Fraudulent 2020 Presidential Election
Planning and Organizing the Trip
Nichols and his co-defendant, Alex Kirk Harkrider, believed that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. In the days leading up to the breach, Nichols and Harkrider exchanged text messages, discussing and planning their trip from Texas to Washington, D.C. In one message, Nichols sent a photograph of body armor, indicating that it would protect against various bullets. In another set of messages, Nichols mentioned building a gun container in his truck, stating that he had intelligence suggesting that Washington would become a warzone. These messages reveal the level of planning and preparation that Nichols and Harkrider undertook before traveling to D.C.
Weapons and Statements
Firearms and Body Armor
Aggressive Statements and Actions at Rally
Assault and Use of Pepper Spray
Both Nichols and Harkrider brought firearms with them on their trip to Washington, D.C. They transported the firearms in a specially constructed box in the back of Nichols’ truck. On the night of January 5, 2021, Nichols and Harkrider attended a rally in Washington, D.C., where Nichols made aggressive statements such as, “Cops don’t know what’s going on. Too many of us, not enough of them.” He also shouted, “Those people in the f— Capitol building are our enemy.” During the breach on January 6, both Nichols and Harkrider wore body armor. Nichols was armed with a crowbar, while Harkrider carried a tactical tomahawk axe. Nichols used pepper spray to assault several law enforcement officers, aiming to impede them and advance the crowd.
Entry to Capitol Building
Arrival at Capitol Grounds
Participation in Violent Assualts
Calls for Violence
Nichols and Harkrider arrived at the Capitol grounds on January 6, 2021, after attending a rally in support of then-President Trump near the Ellipse. They joined a large crowd of rioters outside the Lower West Terrace doors, also known as the Tunnel, where some of the most violent assaults on law enforcement officers took place. At approximately 3:56 p.m., Nichols waved the crowd forward, pushing against officers in a synchronized movement as the crowd chanted, “Heave! Ho!” Five minutes later, Nichols called for the crowd to push forward again, and he received a canister of pepper spray that was being passed through the crowd. He used the pepper spray to attack multiple law enforcement officers. Nichols and Harkrider later entered the Capitol building through a broken window, where Nichols made calls for further violence, shouting statements such as, “This is the second revolution,” and “If you have a weapon, you need to get your weapon!” They exited the Capitol building at around 4:35 p.m.
Arrest and Current Status
Arrest of Defendant
Co-defendant Awaiting Trial
Prosecutors and Investigators
Nichols was arrested on January 18, 2021, in Texas. His co-defendant, Harkrider, is currently awaiting trial for charges related to his conduct on January 6th. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, along with the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, is prosecuting the case. The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Dallas and Washington Field Offices, with assistance from the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.
Number of Individuals Charged
Types of Charges
Tips and Reporting
Since January 6, 2021, over 1,200 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol. These charges include over 400 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, which is a felony offense. The investigation into the breach remains ongoing. The public is encouraged to report any information or tips related to the events on January 6th by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visiting tips.fbi.gov.
Alabama Man Sentenced for Assaulting Law Enforcement
District Man Sentenced for Child Abuse
Ohio Man Sentenced for Assaulting Police Officers
In similar cases related to the January 6th breach, there have been recent sentences imposed on individuals who participated in criminal acts. These include an Alabama man who was sentenced for assaulting law enforcement during the breach, a District man who was sentenced for child abuse, and an Ohio man who was sentenced for assaulting police officers during the breach. These cases demonstrate the seriousness with which the justice system is handling the crimes committed during the Capitol breach.
District of Columbia Main Office
Email and Telephone
For additional information or inquiries regarding this case, individuals can contact the District of Columbia Main Office at 601 D Street, NW, Washington, DC. They can also reach out via email at [email protected] or by telephone at (202) 252-7566. The District of Columbia Main Office will provide any necessary assistance or clarification related to this case or other matters within its jurisdiction.