A federal judge on Tuesday set free pending trial a Connecticut man accused of assaulting an officer who appeared to be crying out in pain while pinned against a door frame in a widely shared video of the pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden of Washington, D.C., earlier denied McCaughey bond after prosecutors showed video of McCaughey allegedly thrusting a looted police riot shield against D.C. police officer Daniel Hodges while the crowd behind chants “Heave-ho” and presses its weight against the shield. The video shows a phalanx of police behind Hodges trying to hold back the mob in the crush.
On Tuesday, McFadden said McCaughey’s role appeared more ambiguous in light of a news interview given Jan. 14 by Hodges, and that a secured $1 million bond put forward by McCaughey’s parents reduced the risk of flight.
McCaughey attorney Lindy R. Urso argued that McFadden earlier applied the wrong legal standard to detaining his client. Urso also argued that Hodges’s remarks in an interview with WUSA9 suggested he was not screaming out in pain but for help, and that McCaughey might have been the unidentified person the officer thanked for eventually getting rioters to hold back momentarily so he could extricate himself.
McFadden said he was not accepting the defense claims at face value but that they added context and shifted the balance of his thinking.
The judge acknowledged he should have assigned the government the burden of proving McCaughey posed a risk of flight or public danger, instead of requiring the defendant to show the opposite based on the specific charge filed against him. The judge also said the large real estate bond set a strong guarantee that McCaughey would comply with future court dates and orders.
Prosecutors alleged that while McCaughey appeared to reset Hodges’s dislodged helmet and urge an officer behind him to let Hodges fall back, he kept hold of the police riot shield that he used against officers.
The judge agreed with the defense that Hodges appeared to him, based on what he had seen so far, to be holding the shield less as a weapon than as a tool to block or “push” officers.
McFadden released McCaughey to conditional home detention, subject to GPS monitoring and strict travel restrictions.
Hodges, 32 at the time, has returned to duty.
The Jan. 6 insurrection
Congressional hearings: The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol held a series of high-profile hearings to share its findings with the U.S. public. What was likely to be the panel’s final public hearing has been postponed because of Hurricane Ian. Here’s a guide to the biggest hearing moments so far.
Will there be charges? The committee could make criminal referrals of former president Donald Trump over his role in the attack, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in an interview.
The riot: On Jan. 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Five people died on that day or in the immediate aftermath, and 140 police officers were assaulted.
Inside the siege: During the rampage, rioters came perilously close to penetrating the inner sanctums of the building while lawmakers were still there, including former vice president Mike Pence. The Washington Post examined text messages, photos and videos to create a video timeline of what happened on Jan. 6.