Man charged with pinning officer during US Capitol attack
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man seen in a widely viewed video pinning an officer into a doorway during the attack on the U.S. Capitol has been charged with assaulting police officers, federal authorities said Wednesday.
Patrick McCaughey III, 23, of Ridgefield, was arrested Tuesday in South Salem, New York, on charges including assaulting, resisting or impeding officers, violent entry or disorderly conduct, and entering a restricted building or grounds.
A federal magistrate judge in New York ordered McCaughey detained without bail Wednesday afternoon, saying his actions were disturbing and he presented a threat to the community. McCaughey’s case is being transferred to Washington and he is detained pending proceedings there early next month.
Federal authorities said McCaughey struck several police officers with a clear, plastic riot shield inside the Capitol. Authorities said he also used the shield to pin Officer Daniel Hodges of the Metropolitan Police Department against a doorway; a video shows Hodges writhing in pain and another rioter beating Hodges after ripping off the officer’s gas mask. Hodges survived.
Police asked for the public’s help in identifying the attackers and released photos of a man later identified as McCaughey seen in the Capitol during the violence on Jan. 6. A witness came forward identifying McCaughey as the person in the photos.
“What this case is really about is a man who on Jan. 6 of this year struck at the heart of American Democracy, that is the U.S. Capitol, both literally and figuratively, as part of a mob that was apparently attempting to overturn a legitimate election,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Gianforte said during Wednesday’s court hearing, which was held by video conference.
In a statement, acting District of Columbia U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin called the attack on Hodges vicious and “quintessentially un-American.”
McCaughey’s public defender, Jason Ser, asked for bail to be set at $150,000, saying his client was not as “maniacal and dangerous” as federal prosecutors were portraying him. Ser said other people were pushing McCaughey, and other parts of the video show McCaughey trying to help Hodges by lowering the officer’s face shield and telling another officer that Hodges was injured.
McCaughey, who has both U.S. and German citizenship, is unemployed and lives with his mother in Ridgefield, an affluent town along the New York border, Ser said. He was arrested at his father’s second home, where he was quarantining.
“The image I think that’s being fostered here, created here, by focusing only on parts of the video certainly I think do a disservice to Mr. McCaughey,” Ser said. “The government is emphasizing two and a half minutes of out of essentially 23 years of Mr. McCaughey’s life.”
McCaughey is a high school graduate who got good grades, made the honor roll and has no criminal record, Ser said.
More than 150 rioters at the U.S. Capitol have been arrested. The attack came as Congress met to certify the results of the presidential election. But an angry mob coming from President Donald Trump’s rally near the White House broke into the Capitol, forcing members of Congress to flee. Five people died during the riot, including one Capitol Police officer.
Federal authorities said McCaughey and other rioters pushed officers defending the Capitol back. A deputy U.S. marshal said in arrest documents that McCaughey pushed Hodges in a doorway with the riot shield as other rioters shoved McCaughey forward, putting a lot of force on Hodges. McCaughey told Hodges to “just go home dude,” the marshal said.
After another rioter assaulted Hodges, McCaughey motioned to other officers that Hodges was injured, the deputy said, and McCaughey later started hitting other officers with the plastic shield.
At one point during the Capitol attack, McCaughey told another person, “I’m not doing anything. I’m just a regular person like everybody else,” the marshal said, citing a cellphone video. McCaughey then said, “This is our building.”
Another man arrested in New York City early Wednesday as part of the riot roundup was ordered held without bail after prosecutors argued he is a danger to the community.
The government cited a photo on social media that suggested Samuel Fisher had stashed firearms in a vehicle he took to Washington for the pro-Trump protest. Court papers said he also posted a photo of himself at the Capitol entrance and later wrote online, “seeing cops literally run . . . was the coolest thing ive ever seen in my life.”
At a bail hearing, a prosecutor said that firearms, bullet-proof vests and ammunition were found at the Manhattan residence where he was arrested on Wednesday. Fisher’s lawyer said there was no proof he ever took weapons to Washington and that he was ever actually inside the Capitol.
Associated Press journalist Tom Hays contributed to this report from New York.