A Capitol rioter who assaulted 6 police officers received a 5-year prison

A Florida man, described by prosecutors as one of the most vicious rioters who invaded the United States Capitol, was sentenced to five years in jail on Wednesday, according to court records.

Kenneth Bonawitz, a member of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group’s Miami chapter, assaulted at least six police officers while storming the Capitol with a mob of Donald Trump supporters on January 6, 2021. According to federal authorities, he choked one of the cops and seriously harmed another, forcing him to resign.

A Capitol rioter who assaulted 6 police officers received a 5-year prison

Bonawitz, 58, of Pompano Beach, Florida, was carrying an eight-inch knife in a sheath on his hip. Police apprehended him while he was attacking officers with the knife.

“His violent, and repeated, assaults on multiple officers are among the worst attacks that occurred that day,” Assistant US Attorney Sean McCauley stated in a court filing.

Court documents show that U.S. District Judge Jia Cobb sentenced Bonawitz to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

The Justice Department requested a five-year, 11-month prison term for Bonawitz, who was apprehended in January. He pleaded guilty to three felonies in August, including one count of civil disorder and two charges of assaulting police.

Bonawitz took an overnight bus to Washington, D.C., chartered by Trump fans, to join his “Stop the Steal” protest near the White House on January 6.

Bonawitz was among the first rioters to enter Upper West Plaza when the throng overran a police cordon on the north side. He jumped off a stage created for President Joe Biden’s inauguration and tackled two Capitol police officers. Sgt. Federico Ruiz sustained severe injuries to his neck, shoulder, knees, and back.

“I thought there was a strong chance I could die right there,” Ruiz wrote in a letter to the judge.

Ruiz, who resigned last month, said Bonawitz’s injuries cut short his law enforcement career.

“Bonawitz has given me a life sentence of physical pain and discomfort, bodily injury and emotional insecurity as a direct result of his assault on me,” he said in a statement.

After police confiscated his weapon and released him, Bonawitz attacked four additional officers in seven seconds. He put one of the officers in a headlock and raised her off the ground, suffocating her.

“Bonawitz’s attacks did not stop until (police) officers pushed him back into the crowd for a second time and deployed the chemical agent to his face,” the prosecutor’s office stated.

A Capitol rioter who assaulted 6 police officers received a 5-year prison

Over 100 police officers were injured during the siege. More than 1,200 individuals have been charged with federal crimes relating to the Capitol incident. Approximately 900 have pled guilty or were convicted during trials. According to figures provided by The Associated Press, more than 750 people have been sentenced, with over 500 given prison time.

On January 6, dozens of Proud Boys leaders, members, and associates were detained on various counts. A jury found former Proud Boys national chairman Enrique Tarrio and three lieutenants guilty of seditious conspiracy charges in connection with a failed attempt to prevent the peaceful transition of presidential authority from Trump to Biden following the 2020 election.

Bonawitz is not accused of coordinating his actions on January 6 with the other Proud Boys. However, the defendant “fully embraced and embodied their anti-government, extremist ideology when he assaulted six law enforcement officers who stood between a mob and the democratic process,” the report said.

Bonawitz’s attorneys did not provide a sentencing letter before Wednesday’s hearing.

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