Butcher Who Assaulted Officers on Jan. 6 Is Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison

A butcher from Maine who assaulted five police officers during the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced on Thursday to more than seven years in prison.

The butcher, Kyle Fitzsimons, arrived at the Capitol that day in a distinctive outfit: a traditional white coat, a black apron and rubber boots. Mr. Fitzsimons, a recreational trapper, was also carrying a six-foot-long unstrung archery bow and a fur pelt draped across his neck.

Approaching a tunnel at the Capitol’s Lower West Terrace, prosecutors say, Mr. Fitzsimons, 39, hurled his bow like a spear at a crowd of officers, striking one in the head. Over the next several minutes, he attacked four more officers in a spree of aggression that led prosecutors to describe him in recent court papers as “one of the most violent” rioters.

Mr. Fitzsimons’s sentence, handed down by Judge Rudolph Contreras in Federal District Court in Washington, was one of a growing list of stiff penalties given to rioters who attacked the police on Jan. 6.

Mr. Fitzsimons at the Capitol on Jan. 6.Credit…via Justice Department

In May, Peter Schwartz, a Pennsylvania welder who hurled a chair at officers and then assaulted them with chemical spray, was sentenced to slightly more than 14 years in prison. Last month, Daniel Rodriguez, a Trump supporter from California who twice drove a Taser into the neck of Officer Michael Fanone, was given a term of more than 12 years.

On Wednesday, Daniel Lyons Scott, a member of the Proud Boys who “bulldozed two officers,” prosecutors said, while leading a charge against the police outside the Capitol, was sentenced to five years in prison.

Mr. Fitzsimons was sentenced the same day that another Jan. 6 defendant, Alan Hostetter, a former Southern California police chief, was convicted on four charges, including conspiring to obstruct the certification of the 2020 election that took place at the Capitol that day. Mr. Hostetter, who served as his own lawyer during a weeklong trial, placed conspiracy theories at the heart of his defense, unsuccessfully arguing that the federal government had planned the Capitol attack.

Mr. Fitzsimons was convicted at a bench trial in September of 11 crimes, including the assaults. Prosecutors had asked for a 15-year sentence, noting in court papers that the punishment was needed because of Mr. Fitzsimons’s “utter lack of remorse, his efforts to profit from his crime and the urgent need to deter others from engaging in political violence.”

In one attack, prosecutors said, Mr. Fitzsimons swiped repeatedly at an officer, trying to hit him and dislodge his gas mask. He then grabbed hold of another officer, Aquilino Gonell, and wrenched his shoulder so badly that it ended his career.

After that, prosecutors said, Mr. Fitzsimons charged twice into yet another group of officers, wildly swinging his fists and “indiscriminately trying to punch any officer he could reach.” Finally, after walking away from the fray, Mr. Fitzsimons seemed to celebrate the attacks he had committed.

When another member of the mob stopped him and said, “You’re an American hero, buddy,” he responded, “My name is Kyle Fitzsimons.” Prosecutors said he “wanted recognition and notoriety for what he had done.”

Addressing Judge Contreras, Mr. Fitzsimons said he had abdicated his “duty to generations before and after me” by contributing to the violence and vowed never to repeat his offenses. Through tears, he apologized to Mr. Gonell, who appeared in court on Thursday bearing a $21,175 medical bill related to his injuries that he told Judge Contreras he was unable to pay.

The judge said he believed that Mr. Fitzsimons’s willingness to attack uniformed police officers amid an “orgy of assaultive rage” showed he was susceptible to emotional outbursts and groupthink and remained an “inherently dangerous” person. He also questioned how Mr. Fitzsimons and others like him might react to the upcoming presidential election, in which former President Donald J. Trump is once again a vocal contender.

During one of several interviews he gave from jail, Mr. Fitzsimons used the saying “Don’t give up the ship,” prosecutors said, as a way to urge his listeners to spread the “false narrative” that he and other Jan. 6 defendants were “being politically persecuted for their beliefs, not their conduct.”

In a letter submitted to the court, Mr. Gonell asked Judge Contreras to hold Mr. Fitzsimons accountable for his attacks to prevent “another Jan. 6.”

“Downplaying what transpired and not punishing the violent mob for their roles would make it more likely to recur,” he wrote. “Everything my fellow officers and I sacrificed would be desecrated. We defended the Capitol, not from a foreign entity, but from fellow Americans who attacked us.”

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