Jan. 6 rioter accused of ripping officer’s gas mask sentenced to 7 years in prison

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Jan. 6 rioter accused of ripping officer’s gas mask sentenced to 7 years in prison

A Texas man accused of forcefully removing a Capitol Police officer’s gas mask during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot on the Capitol, was sentenced to 7 years in prison on Friday.

Steven Cappuccio — of Universal City, Texas — was sentenced to 85 months in prison and 24 months of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Donald Trump appointee, according to a Justice Department (DOJ) release. He was previously convicted of six felonies stemming from the attack on the Capitol.

Cappuccio’s act of removing the officer’s gas mask caused “the officer’s head and neck to be yanked violently in various directions,” notes the DOJ. The defendant then reportedly said, “How do you like me now, f—er?!” before taking possession of the officer’s baton and using it to strike the officer in the face.

He was sentenced alongside Federico Klein, a former Trump State Department official who received a sentence of almost six years in prison for his alleged role in the Capitol riot.

The federal government was seeking a sentence of a least 10 years, along with other penalties including three years of supervised release and $2,000 in restitution, court records show.

In a court statement, the officer, Daniel Hodges, claimed Cappuccio tried to end his life and noted that he would expect to be in prison for much longer than 10 years if he had attacked a civilian in a similar manner.

“When did he regain his senses? Was it before or after he tried to kill me?” Hodges wrote. “When Officers are trained in the use of our batons, we are repeatedly told one thing: do not aim for the head unless you are legally justified in using lethal force.”

“Forcefully striking someone in the head with a solid blunt instrument has the potential to seriously injure or kill that person,” he added.

According to court records, nearly 1,200 people have been charged for crimes related to the Jan. 6 insurrection. More than 800 have also pleaded guilty or were convicted by a jury or judge following a trial, the data shows.