Man Who Attacked Police With Confederate Flag Receives Nearly 2 Years in Prison

A man from Kentucky went into the U.S. Capitol with a Confederate battle flag. He was given a prison sentence of over two years for using pepper spray on two police officers, which caused them to be partially blinded for several hours during the riot on January 6, 2021.

Isreal Easterday, who was 19 years old at the time, participated in a group of Donald Trump supporters who invaded the Capitol. He attacked two Capitol police officers who were each guarding the East Rotunda Doors using pepper spray.

Chief Judge James Boasberg mentioned Easterday’s young age as a factor in giving a prison sentence of two years and six months, which was more than five times shorter than what the Justice Department originally recommended.

The judge mentioned that Easterday, who was taught at home by his mother while living on a family farm, may not have fully understood what was happening at the Capitol on January 6th or realized that the Confederate flag represents rebellion.

“According to Boasberg, January 6th was an attempt to forcefully replace the person our country had voted for,” “The mob was present because it did not achieve its desired outcome through voting.”

Easterday tearfully said sorry to the officers he attacked. He stated that he takes responsibility for his actions on January 6th and feels very ashamed of himself.

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After the hearing ended, Boasberg ordered Easterday to be taken into custody right away to start serving his sentence. As Easterday was led out of the courtroom, some of his supporters hugged each other.

“I promise I won’t disappoint you,” Easterday told the judge after finding out what his punishment would be. The prosecutors initially suggested that Easterday should be sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison. During the hearing, a prosecutor argued for a sentence of 11 years and three months to match the court’s revised calculation of sentencing guidelines.

“As we get closer to the 2024 presidential election, there are many people in the media and online who are causing disagreement and lack of trust. This raises concerns about the possibility of another event like January 6 happening again.” The prosecutors wrote in a court filing that the Court needs to give Easterday a sentence that will discourage him and others from repeating the same behavior.

Last October, Easterday was found guilty by a jury on nine charges. These charges included assaulting Capitol police officers Joshua Pollitt and Miguel Acevedo with pepper spray that he got from other rioters.

Easterday went from his home in Bonnieville, Kentucky, to Washington, D.C., to join then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally near the White House on January 6th. A photograph was taken of Easterday holding a Confederate battle flag while he was in a tree near the rally site.

After walking to the Capitol, Easterday joined other rioters in forcefully entering the East Plaza. He waved his flag while pushing through the crowd to reach the East Rotunda Doors. Once there, he attacked the two officers individually.

Pollitt passed out and fell down in the crowd after Easterday sprayed his face without any protection.

“Once Officer Pollitt woke up, he was very scared because he realized how unprotected he had been,” prosecutors wrote. “I experienced severe pain and loss of vision that lasted for several hours.”

A video captures Easterday smirking moments before he sprayed Acevedo. “Prosecutors wrote that Easterday’s smirk, before using the second cannister, showed that he didn’t care about other people and actually enjoyed being violent. This was evident from the effects of his first spray on Officer Pollitt,” the prosecutors stated.

Pollitt brought other rioters with him into the Capitol when he went inside the building. He was inside the Capitol for about 13 minutes. Easterday, who is now 23 years old, was arrested in December 2022 in Miami. His boat was docked there for a missionary trip to deliver free bibles to churches in the Bahamas.

Prosecutors said that the Confederate flag represents treason, defiance of the law, and insurrection. Easterday’s lawyers claim that he has lived a very sheltered life on his Amish family’s farm in rural Kentucky and did not fully grasp the meaning of the flag.

“Isreal’s lawyers wrote in a court filing that unlike other defendants who used social media to express support for former President Trump and encourage violence, Isreal used this trip as an opportunity to leave his family farm, something he had never done until he was about 16 or 17 years old.”

Over 100 police officers were hurt during the attack on January 6th. More than 1,350 individuals have been accused of federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. Over 800 people have been sentenced, and about two-thirds of them have received prison terms ranging from a few days to 22 years.

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