The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Rioter admits to assaulting D.C. officer Mike Fanone on Jan. 6

Fanone, who battled with several rioters, became an outspoken advocate for the officers injured that day

D.C. police officer Michael Fanone is swarmed by pro-Trump rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
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An Iowa man who brought his teenage son to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, admitted he was among a group that assaulted D.C. police officer Michael Fanone, who suffered a heart attack and traumatic brain injury defending Congress from the pro-Trump mob.

Kyle Young, 38, pleaded guilty Thursday in D.C. federal court to one count of assaulting a police officer, which carries a sentence of up to eight years in prison; prosecutors say the guidelines call for at least five.

Three others are charged with assaulting Fanone. Albuquerque Head, of Tennessee, is scheduled to plead guilty on Friday, according to court documents. Daniel Rodriguez, a conservative activist from Southern California, tearfully apologized for using a Taser on Fanone in an FBI interrogation but has since pleaded not guilty. And Thomas Sibick, 35, of Buffalo, is accused of stealing Fanone’s badge and radio; he has also pleaded not guilty.

Young does not know anything about the activities of the others, his lawyer said Thursday.

Young brought his 16-year-old son to D.C. from Redfield, Iowa, for the “Stop the Steal” rally, according to a transcript of his bond hearing. Just before 3 p.m., they made their way to the Capitol’s lower west terrace, where D.C. police were trying to keep the violent mob out of a tunnel leading below the Rotunda.

According to his plea agreement, Young shined a strobe light in the eyes of officers and jabbed at them with a long stick. He helped throw a large audio speaker toward the police; it hit another protester. Then, as rioters dragged Fanone by the helmet across the police line and into the crowd, Young followed.

Fanone, in interviews and testimony before Congress, has described what happened next. He was stripped of his radio, badge and bullet magazine. He was beaten with fists and a flagpole and shocked over and over in the back of the neck with a Taser. Someone tried to take his service weapon out of its holster, shouting “Kill him with his own gun!” When he pleaded for mercy by shouting, “I got kids!” some in the crowd helped drag him back to the police line. He was later hospitalized.

According to court documents, Fanone told investigators he was “100 percent sure” it was Young who grabbed his gun and threatened to kill him with it. In his indictment, Young was accused of attempting to steal Fanone’s service weapon. As part of the plea agreement, the charge was dropped and Assistant U.S. Attorney Cara Gardner said it would not be discussed at sentencing. Young agreed only that he was seen on a body camera holding Fanone by the hand and wrist.

Young “pulled the officer’s arm away from his body,” according to the statement of facts filed as part of the plea. Fanone “experienced excruciating pain and was rendered momentarily helpless.”

Young also admitted assaulting another officer after Fanone, connecting with his helmet.

Young, who works in heat and air conditioning installation, has a felony criminal history that includes drug and firearm charges.

At a detention hearing last year, his wife said her husband was a Trump supporter and Fox News watcher who went to D.C. because “they needed to prove to us that this election was free and fair.” He is set to be sentenced on Aug. 28.

Fanone, who voted for Donald Trump in 2016, became an outspoken critic of Republicans who sought to minimize the horror of the Capitol attack. He resigned from the Metropolitan Police Department in December, saying he was frustrated by fellow officers who wanted him to be quiet.

“Clearly there are some members of our department who feel their oath is to Donald Trump and not to the Constitution,” he told The Washington Post at the time.