Defendant Used Chemical Spray Against Officers
WASHINGTON – A Florida man pleaded guilty today to assaulting law enforcement officers during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Matthew Council, 50, of Riverview, Florida, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to an indictment charging him with a total of six offenses. They include one felony count of assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers, one felony count of interfering with a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder, and four misdemeanor offenses.
According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Council joined rioters who were illegally gathered at the west side of the Capitol Building. A police officer sprayed him with a chemical irritant, but he nonetheless continued up the stairs to the Northwest Plaza. At the time, law enforcement officers were struggling to keep the mob outside the building. At approximately 2:44 p.m., Council entered the Parliamentarian Door. He barged into a line of Capitol Police officers, trying to push them back and create an opening for others to get through. He fell to the ground.
Council was arrested at the scene. He is to be sentenced on November 1, 2022. He faces a statutory maximum of eight years in prison for assaulting law enforcement officers and another five years for civil disorder, as well as a total of three more years for the misdemeanor offenses. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This 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 Middle District of Florida.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Tampa and Washington Field Offices. Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.
In the 19 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 860 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 260 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.