A Maine butcher who assaulted five police officers during riots at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced Thursday to more than seven years in prison.
The butcher, Kyle Fitzsimons, arrived at the Capitol that day in distinctive attire: a traditional white coat, black apron and rubber boots. Mr. Fitzsimons, a recreational trapper, also carried a six foot long cordless archery bow and a fur pelt around his neck.
Approaching a tunnel on the Capitol’s Lower West Terrace, prosecutors say, Fitzsimons, 39, hurled his bow like a spear at a crowd of officers, striking one in the head. Over the next few minutes, he attacked four more officers in a series of assaults that led prosecutors to describe him in recent court documents as “one of the most violent rioters.”
Mr. Fitzsimons’ sentence, handed down by Judge Rudolph Contreras in US District Court in Washington, was one of a growing list of harsh sentences handed down to rioters who attacked police on January 6.
In May, Peter Schwartz, a Pennsylvania welder who threw a chair at officers and then assaulted them with a chemical spray, was sentenced to just over 14 years in prison. Last month, Daniel Rodriguez, a Trump supporter from California who twice tasered officer Michael Fanone’s neck, received a sentence of more than 12 years.
On Wednesday, Daniel Lyons Scott, a member of the Proud Boys who “took down two officers,” prosecutors said, while leading a charge against police outside the Capitol, was sentenced to five years in prison.
Mr. Fitzsimons was sentenced the same day as another defendant on January 6, Alan Hostetter, a former Southern California Police Chief, was convicted of four counts, including conspiring to obstruct the certification of the 2020 election that was took place at the Capitol that day. Mr. Hostetter, who served as his own attorney during a week-long trial, placed conspiracy theories at the center of his defense and argued unsuccessfully that the federal government had planned the attack on the Capitol. .
Mr. Fitzsimons was convicted in a bench trial in September of 11 offences, including assault. Prosecutors had sought a 15-year sentence and noted in court documents that the punishment was necessary because of Mr Fitzsimons’ “absolute lack of remorse”, his efforts to profit from his crime and the urgent need to deter others. to participate in political violence. ”
In one attack, prosecutors said, Mr. Fitzsimons repeatedly punched an officer, trying to hit him and remove his gas mask. He then grabbed another officer, Aquilino Gonell, and twisted his shoulder so hard that he ended his career.
After that, prosecutors said, Mr. Fitzsimons twice charged another group of officers, violently shaking his fists and “attempting to indiscriminately hit any officer he could reach.” Finally, after walking away from the fray, Mr. Fitzsimons appeared to celebrate the attacks he had committed.
When another mob member stopped him and said, “You’re an American hero, man,” he replied, “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 not to commit his crimes again. He tearfully apologized to Mr. Gonell, who appeared in court Thursday with a $21,175 medical bill related to his injuries that he told Judge Contreras he couldn’t pay.
The judge said he believed that Mr Fitzsimons’ willingness to attack uniformed police officers in the midst of an “orgy of aggressive rage” demonstrated that 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 jump ship,” prosecutors said, as a way of urging his listeners to spread the “false narrative” that he and 6 others January the defendants were “being politically persecuted for their beliefs, not for their conduct.”
In a letter sent to the court, Mr. Gonell asked Judge Contreras to hold Mr. Fitzsimons accountable for his attacks in order to prevent “another January 6th.”
“Minimizing what happened and not punishing the violent mob for their roles would make it happen again,” he wrote. “Everything that my fellow officers and I sacrificed would be desecrated. We defended the Capitol, not from a foreign entity, but from other Americans who attacked us.”