A Texas militia member was sentenced on Friday to nearly five years in prison for attacking police officers at the U.S. Capitol, seriously injuring one of them in a January 6, 2021 mob attack.
US District Judge Randolph Moss sentenced Donald Hazard to four years and nine months in prison followed by three months of probation for his role in Capitol Riotaccording to a spokesperson 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 chairman, appointed Hazard as Sergeant-at-Arms. Denney also encouraged Hazard to stock up on weapons and protective gear and recruit others to join them in Washington, DC, prosecutors said.
Hazard was “hungry for violence” on January 6, wearing a tactical vest and a helmet emblazoned with the image of the Confederate battle flag, Justice Department prosecutor Benet Kearney wrote in a court filing.
After marching to the Capitol, Hazard clashed with officers trying to hold off the crowd near scaffolding on the northwest side of the building. Hazard grabbed a Capitol Police officer and dragged him down a set of concrete steps, knocking him unconscious. That officer was treated for a concussion and foot injuries that required multiple surgeries, prosecutors say.
Hazard also ran into another Capitol cop whose head hit the concrete. Hazard and Denney, both brandishing what appeared to be pepper spray canisters, clashed with 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.
“When he reached the outside steps, 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.
Defense attorney Ubong Akpan said Hazard had no plan to attack the officers.
“His actions were more of a reaction to what he saw that day, as opposed to a plan to attack law enforcement, a group he thought was in the same situation with,” Akpan wrote in a court filing.
The video shows that Hazard did not forcibly assault the officers in the scaffolding, his lawyer argued.
“His conduct was more consistent with the obstruction of the officers and his obstruction resulted in bodily harm to the officers,” Akpan wrote.
Hazard was charged with Denney, who pleaded guilty to an assault charge and was sentenced last September to four years and four months in prison.
More than 100 police officers were injured on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 as rioters prevented Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory over Republican incumbent Donald Trump.
More than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the riot. About 500 of them were sentenced, more than half of them to prison terms ranging from seven days to more than 14 years.