NATIONAL NEWS

Florida man who attacked officers with flagpole at Capitol riot gets 4 years in prison

Aug 17, 2023, 12:52 PM | Updated: 4:14 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Florida man who used a flagpole to attack officers who were trying to defend the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison.

Michael Steven Perkins, 40, of Plant City, was sentenced in District of Columbia federal court, according to court records. His co-defendant, Joshua Christopher Doolin, 25, of Lakeland, received one year and six months on Wednesday.

Both were convicted earlier this year of felony civil disorder, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds.

Doolin was also convicted of theft of government property. Perkins was separately convicted of assaulting a federal officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon and engaging in acts of physical violence while on the restricted Capitol grounds.

Doolin and Perkins were arrested on June 30, 2021, along with co-defendants Joseph Hutchinson and Olivia Pollock, officials said. A federal judge issued bench warrants for Hutchinson and Pollock in March after the FBI reported that they had tampered with or removed their ankle monitors and disappeared.

A fifth co-defendant, Jonathan Pollock, has not yet been apprehended, and the FBI is offering a reward of up to $30,000 in exchange for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

According to court documents, Doolin and Perkins joined with others in objecting to Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory over then-President Donald Trump. A mob attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying election results for Biden over the Republican Trump, authorities said. Five people died in the violence.

According to evidence and testimony presented at trial, Doolin and Perkins were on the west side of the Capitol on Jan. 6. Hutchinson, pushed from behind by Perkins, charged a line of police officers in an effort to break through the line, prosecutors said.

As officers descended into the crowd to help another officer, Perkins picked up a flagpole and thrust it into the chest of an approaching officer, authorities said. Perkins then raised the flagpole over his head and swung it down, striking two officers in the back of their heads, officials said.

Doolin and Perkins then advanced closer to the Capitol building, where Doolin acquired a Metropolitan Police Department crowd-control spray cannister and a U.S. Capitol Police riot shield, prosecutors said. Doolin eventually re-located to a Capitol building entrance passageway, where he used the stolen riot shield to join the crowd of rioters pushing against the police officers inside the passageway in an effort to break through and enter the Capitol, officials said.

Attorneys for Doolin and Perkins didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment from The Associated Press.

Since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,100 people have been arrested for crimes related to the breach of the Capitol, officials said. More than 350 people have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

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Florida man who attacked officers with flagpole at Capitol riot gets 4 years in prison