A California man who used an electroshock device on a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced today for the assault and other charges. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election.
Daniel Joseph “DJ” Rodriguez, 40, of Fontana, California, was sentenced to 151 months in prison for conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding, obstruction of justice, and assaulting a law enforcement officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered 36 months of supervised release, restitution of $2,000 to the Architect of the Capitol, and $96,927 to the Metropolitan Police Department for damages to the victim.
According to court documents, In the fall of 2020, Rodriguez was the administrator of a Telegram group chat titled PATRIOTS45MAGA Gang. The group, initially created to bring together supporters of former President Trump in the lead-up to the 2020 Presidential election, became a forum for Rodriguez’s plans for violence against the seat of the federal government. In the group, Rodriguez and his co-conspirator, defendant Edward Badalian, wrote hundreds of messages about war and revolution, about traitors and tyrants.
On Jan. 6, 2021, Rodriguez and his group traveled from California to Washington, D.C., to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally on the National Mall. After the rally, Rodriguez made his way from the Ellipse to the Capitol building, illegally traversing the west front of the Capitol grounds and entering the lower west terrace tunnel at approximately 2:46 p.m. A short while later, court documents state that video footage taken from the incident depicts Rodriguez at the first set of double doors of the Capitol building facing the police line and deploying a fire extinguisher at the line of officers present.
Shortly afterward, court documents say that Rodriguez is seen using a long wooden pole and shoving it toward officers in the line. Rodriguez then participated in an unsuccessful coordinated shove against law enforcement officers in the police line in an attempt to gain access to the building.
At approximately 2:52 p.m., Rodriguez is seen waving his arms at the rioters outside the tunnel, encouraging them to push forward toward the police line. It is then, court records say, that fellow rioter Kyle Young tapped Rodriguez on the shoulder and provided him with a small, black, rectangular electroshock weapon. Rodriguez is then observed activating the weapon and lunging at officers in the police line. Rodriguez is then seen leaving the tunnel only to return a short while later.
After Rodriguez returned to the lower west terrace tunnel, court documents state that video footage taken from the scene of the incident depicts one rioter, Albuquerque Head, wrapping his arm around the neck of an MPD officer and dragging the officer out on to the steps of the lower west terrace. Rodriguez is then seen making his way toward the officer and, with the electroshock weapon in hand, plunging it into the officer’s neck. As the officer attempted to escape, court records state that Rodriguez struck again, placing the electroshock weapon on the back of the officer’s neck.
Following the assault on the officer, Rodriguez then entered the Capitol building and continued to vandalize offices, ransack rooms, break windows, and steal other items. Before, during, and after the Capitol breach, Rodriguez sent multiple images and text messages to members of the Telegram group, documenting his assault on the Capitol and the MPD officers, as well as his desire to commit violence and destruction.
This case was prosecuted by The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Justice Department’s National Security Division. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Los Angeles and Washington Field Offices, with valuable assistance from the Metropolitan Police Department and U.S. Capitol Police.
In the 29 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,000 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including nearly 350 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.