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Proud Boy Who Took Officer’s Riot Shield And Smashed Capitol Window on Jan. 6 Sentenced To 10 Years in Prison



Dominic Pezzola
Proud Boy member Dominic Pezzola received a 10-year prison sentence on Friday for his role in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. (Photo: Facebook)

Dominic Pezzola, a former member of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group, received a 10-year prison sentence on Friday for his role in smashing a window at the U.S. Capitol during the initial breach of the January 6, 2021, riot.

Pezzola’s sentencing is the latest in a series of convictions targeting leaders of the Proud Boys for orchestrating an attack aimed at preventing the peaceful transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 presidential election.

After the sentencing, he defiantly proclaimed, “Trump won!” as he exited the courtroom.

During the events of that fateful day, Pezzola, 46 and a recent recruit to the Proud Boys, seized a police officer’s riot shield, using it to break a window and allow the first group of rioters to enter the Capitol. Later, he recorded a “celebratory video” inside the building while smoking a cigar, as detailed by prosecutors. Notably, while he faced various serious charges, including seditious conspiracy, a rarely invoked Civil War-era offense, a jury acquitted him of this high-profile charge.

Prosecutor Erik Kenerson described Pezzola as an enthusiastic foot soldier in the attack, emphasizing his active role.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly acknowledged that Pezzola was a relative newcomer to the group and did not engage in the increasingly violent online rhetoric seen from his co-defendants leading up to the January 6 attack. Nevertheless, the judge characterized him as playing a significant role in enabling the rioters’ entry into the Capitol.

Judge Kelly remarked, “The reality is you smashed that window in and let people begin to stream into the Capitol building and threaten the lives of our lawmakers. It’s not something that I ever dreamed I would have seen in our country.”

Defense attorneys had requested a five-year sentence for Pezzola, arguing that he was caught up in the chaos of the day.

Pezzola testified during the trial that he initially grabbed the officer’s shield to protect himself from police crowd control measures. His legal team argued that he broke only one pane of glass, and other rioters were responsible for breaking the remaining windows.

In his statement to the judge, Pezzola expressed regret for crossing into the restricted area on January 6 and apologized to the officer whose shield he had taken. He stated, “There is no place in my future for groups or politics whatsoever.”

However, upon leaving the courtroom, he raised his fist and declared, “Trump won!”

Another former Proud Boy, Ethan Nordean, former chapter president from Auburn, Washington, is also scheduled for sentencing, with prosecutors seeking a 27-year term.

The sentencing of two co-defendants took place the previous day, resulting in Joseph Biggs receiving a 17-year prison sentence and Zachary Rehl, a leader of the Philadelphia chapter, receiving a 15-year term.

The highest-profile defendant in the lengthy trial, former top Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, is expected to be sentenced the following week after a delay due to the judge’s illness.

The Proud Boys’ trial exposed the far-right extremists’ alignment with the false claims made by Trump, a Republican, regarding the 2020 election being stolen from him.

To date, over 1,100 individuals have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot, with more than 600 of them convicted and sentenced.

The longest sentence related to the January 6 attack so far is 18 years, given to Stewart Rhodes, the founder of another far-right extremist group, the Oath Keepers.


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