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Member of the Texan militia sentenced to nearly 5 years in prison for assaulting police during the Capitol riots


A Texas militiaman was sentenced Friday to nearly five years in prison for assaulting police officers at the U.S. Capitol, critically wounding one of them in a mob attack on Jan. 6, 2021.

U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss sentenced Donald Hazard to four years and nine months in prison, followed by three months of supervised release for his role in the Capitol riotsaid a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

The sentence matched what federal prosecutors had recommended for Hazard, who pleaded guilty to an assault charge in February.

Hazard, 44, of Hurst, Texas, was a member of a militia called the Patriot Boys of North Texas. Lucas Denney, the group’s self-proclaimed president, made Hazard a sergeant-at-arms. Denney also encouraged Hazard to stock up on guns and protective gear and recruit others to join them in Washington, D.C., prosecutors said.

Hazard was “eager for violence” on Jan. 6, wearing a tactical vest and helmet emblazoned with the image of the Confederate battle flag, Justice Department prosecutor Benet Kearney wrote in a lawsuit.

After marching toward the Capitol, Hazard clashed with officers trying to hold back the crowd at the scaffolding on the northwest side of the building. Hazard grabbed a police officer from the Capitol and pulled him down some concrete steps, knocking him unconscious. That officer was treated for a concussion and foot injury that required multiple surgeries, prosecutors said.

Hazard also fell on another Capitol police officer whose head hit the concrete. Hazard and Denney, both brandishing what appeared to be canisters of pepper spray, confronted other officers on the west side of the Capitol.

Hazard briefly entered the Capitol before police pushed him and other rioters out of the building.

“As he reached the outside stairs, Hazard raised his arms in a gesture of victory,” Kearney wrote.

In the days following Jan. 6, Hazard bragged on Facebook about storming the Capitol and fighting with police.

“The only regret Hazard expressed was that he no longer had the photos and videos he took that day,” Kearney wrote.

Lawyer Ubong Akpan said Hazard had no intention of attacking officers.

“His actions were more of a response to what he witnessed that day, as opposed to a plan to attack law enforcement officers, a group he believed to be similarly situated,” Akpan wrote in a lawsuit.

Video shows that Hazard did not violently attack the officers in the scaffolding, his lawyer argued.

“His behavior was more consistent with obstructive officers and his obstruction led to the officers’ bodily harm,” Akpan wrote.

Hazard was charged for Denney, who pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to four years and four months in prison last September.

More than 100 police officers were injured at the Capitol on Jan. 6, when rioters disrupted Congress as it certified President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory over incumbent Republican President Donald Trump.

More than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the riots. About 500 of them have been convicted, and more than half received prison sentences ranging from seven days to more than 14 years.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.