Defendant Was First Rioter to Open Rotunda Doors, Letting Mob Inside
WASHINGTON – A South Carolina man was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison on two felony charges for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His and others’ actions disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
George Amos Tenney III, 36, of Anderson, South Carolina, pleaded guilty on June 30, 2022, in the District of Columbia to interfering with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding. According to court documents, in December 2020, Tenney made plans to travel to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. He sent a Facebook message on Dec. 28, 2020, that stated, among other things, “It’s starting to look like we may siege the capital building and congress if the electoral votes don’t go right.”
On Jan. 6, 2021, Tenney illegally entered the Capitol Building. He moved to the area inside the Rotunda Doors, arriving there at approximately 2:24 p.m. Rioters had amassed outside the doors and were struggling against the police officers attempting to secure the building. Tenney tried to open the Rotunda Doors to allow the rioters inside, and he had contact with multiple federal employees while doing so. He succeeded in opening one of the doors. A police officer who was outside tried to push them closed, and Tenney resisted, pushing against the door to try to keep it open. An employee of the House Sergeant at Arms then ran towards Tenney, pushing him aside in an effort to close the door. Tenney grabbed the employee by the shoulder. He and other rioters surrounded the employee, and a heated conversation began. A rioter from outside the doors forced his way inside and pushed the employee of the House Sergeant at Arms away.
Tenney, meanwhile, continued to stand in the doorway, and locked arms with a Capitol Police officer who was just outside the doors. He and the officer moved inside, towards the Rotunda. Tenney pushed away the officer’s hand. While in the Rotunda, he yelled, “Stand up, Patriots, stand up!” He then returned to the Rotunda Doors, where he assisted rioters entering the building, patting them on the back and helping them move forward. When another Capitol Police officer entered the area, Tenney pushed him to the side. Tenney ultimately had to be pulled back inside so that the Rotunda Doors could be closed to keep other rioters from entering. He then retreated to the Rotunda and exited the Capitol through a window at approximately 2:32 p.m.
Tenney was arrested on June 29, 2021, in Anderson, South Carolina. Following his prison term, he will be placed on three years of supervised release. He also must pay $2,000 in restitution.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Justice Department’s National Security Division are prosecuting the case, with valuable assistance provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina.
The FBI’s Columbia, South Carolina Field Office investigated the case, with valuable assistance from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department
In the 22 months since Jan. 6, 2021, nearly 900 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 275 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.