Former MPD police officer confronts Jan. 6 Capitol attacker at sentencing
(WASHINGTON) — Former D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone appeared in court Thursday to confront a rioter who dragged him into the mob of Trump supporters that brutally assaulted him during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, urging a federal judge to hand down the maximum sentence possible for his crimes.
“I would trade all this attention to return to policing,” Fanone said at the sentencing of Tennessee resident Albuquerque Head. “But I can’t do that. And the catalyst for the loss of my career and the suffering that I’ve endured in the past 18 months is Albuquerque Head.”
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ultimately sentenced Head to seven-and-a-half years in prison, describing him as one of the “most serious offenders” in her Jan. 6 caseload and “instrumental to one of the most horrific attacks on officers” that day.
Prosecutors had urged Judge Jackson to sentence Head to eight years in prison, one year longer than the sentence handed down to one of Head’s co-defendants, Kyle Young, who also joined in the attack on Fanone.
They said the longer sentence was justified based on Head’s initiation of the assault on Fanone and his substantial criminal history that includes roughly 45 prior arrests.
During the hearing, prosecutors played out Fanone’s bodycam footage in which you can hear Head’s voice after grabbing Fanone, seemingly assuring he would protect him.
“I’m going to try to help you out here. You hear me?” Head said.
Fanone then replied, “Thank you.”
Seconds later, however, Head called out to the violent mob, “Hey! I got one!”
He then wrapped his arm around Fanone’s neck and started dragging him away from the barricade of officers protecting the Lower West End Tunnel.
Fanone was then viciously beat by rioters in the crowd and tasered in the neck, suffering a heart attack before he was escorted back to the police line and later transported to the emergency room, prosecutors said.
“Your Honor, I would ask you to show Mr. Head, the same mercy that he showed me on January 6,” Fanone said Thursday. “Which in case there’s any question in this courtroom — is none.”
It marked the second time Fanone has spoken at the sentencing for one of the rioters convicted of assaulting him. He delivered a similar statement in September at the sentencing of Young, urging Judge Jackson to hand down a harsh sentence and saying the attack “cost me my career, it cost me my faith in law enforcement and many of the institutions I dedicated two decades of my life to serving.”
Judge Jackson delivered impassioned remarks in her sentencing of Head, rebuking his attorneys for claiming he didn’t bear responsibility for what happened to Fanone after he pulled him into the crowd.
“I cannot accept that for one moment,” Jackson said. “Who exposed him to the mercy of the crowd?… Officer Fanone was trapped in a crowd you delivered him to.”
As she did in her sentencing of Young, Jackson called out directly those who still seek to spread the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, accusing them of stoking anger “for their own selfish purposes.”
“They need to think about the havoc they’ve wreaked, the lives they’ve ruined, the harm to their supporters’ families even, and the threats to this country’s Foundation,” Jackson said. “And the people who still believe what they’re being told, the people who are upset, need to understand that no matter how outraged they are — when they cross the line and break the law and most importantly, when they decide to do battle with the officers who are doing their duty, they will be held accountable and the consequences will be serious.”
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