An Ohio man was found guilty of assaulting law enforcement officers related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, which disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress in the process of ascertaining and counting the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Kenneth Joseph Owen Thomas, 41, of East Liverpool, Ohio, was found guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia of four counts of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder; and engaging in physical violence on Capitol grounds. U.S. District Court Judge Dabney L. Friedrich scheduled a sentencing hearing for September 6, 2023.
Thomas was on the Upper West Terrace at 3:30 p.m. standing in front of a line of police officers who were preventing the rioters from advancing further towards the Capitol. When the crowd surged forward against the police line, Thomas twice charged the line of police officers, striking two Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers with his hands and shoving them. Thomas’ assaults against these two MPD officers were captured on police body worn cameras (BWC) and in many open-source videos from the scene.
Then, approximately an hour later in a different part of the Upper West Terrace, Thomas was captured on MPD BWC footage advancing toward a line of law enforcement and pushing against their shields.. At 4:26 p.m., officers began to advance to dispel the crowd of rioters from the steps. Thomas turned toward rioters and ordered them to “hold the line” against advancing officers, repeating this statement fifteen times as he locked arms with the other rioters and pushed against the offices. Then, at 4:28 p.m., again as officers attempted to clear the Upper West Terrace, Thomas rushed to the head of the line of rioters and twice threw himself into an MPD officers while yelling to the rioters “hold the fucking line.” In subsequent interviews, law enforcement officers confirmed the attack and stated Thomas “was one of the first to come in and start hitting [and] pushing officers on the line.”
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, who identified Thomas as #214 on their seeking information photos, as well as the MPD, with significant assistance provided by the FBI’s Birmingham Field Office.
In the first 28 months since Jan. 6, more than 1,000 individuals have been arrested on charges related to the Capitol breach, including more than 320 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.