WASHINGTON — An Iowa man pleaded guilty Thursday to taking part in the savage attack on D.C. Police Officer Michael Fanone during the 2021 Capitol riot.
Kyle James Young, 37, of Redfield, Iowa, appeared virtually before U.S. District Judge Amy B. Jackson to enter his plea of guilty to one felony count of assaulting a police officer. At his sentencing hearing Aug. 25, he’ll face a recommendation of more than 5 years in prison.
Young was one of three men indicted in April 2021 for the attack that left Fanone unconscious and resulted in him suffering a heart attack as he was being transported to the hospital. One of Young’s co-defendants, Albuquerque Cosper Head, of Kingsport, Tennessee, was scheduled to plead guilty Friday. The other, Thomas Sibick, was awaiting trial on home incarceration at his parents’ house in Buffalo, New York.
Fanone, who has since left the D.C. Police Department, said in testimony before Congress and in interviews since Jan. 6 he was worried the mob was going to kill him when they grabbed him and dragged him alone into the crowd. Rioters repeatedly beat him with their fists and flagpoles. Another defendant charged in a separate case, Danny Rodriguez, confessed to FBI agents that he tased Fanone in the neck multiple times.
“Guys were like grabbing gear off my vest,” Fanone said in an interview with WUSA9. “I remember guys chanting, like, ‘Kill him with his own gun!”
Fanone said he considered using his gun to defend himself, but decided the crowd would quickly overpower him and use it against him.
While other rioters were assaulting him, Sibick is accused of reaching in and stealing Fanone’s badge and police radio. He has admitted he returned home to New York with the badge and buried it in his backyard.
On Thursday, Young told Jackson he was accompanied by one of his minor children when he joined other rioters in the chaotic Lower West Terrace tunnel. Young said when another member of the mob dragged Fanone into the crowd, he grabbed his wrist and pulled the officer’s arm away from his body – one of multiple rioters who restrained Fanone on the ground while he was being assaulted.
The restraint could earn Young extra prison time at sentencing. Jackson said she will have to determine if an enhancement is appropriate. If she decides it is, his expected recommended sentencing range will increase from 63-78 months to 77-96 months.
Young’s co-defendant, Albuquerque Cosper Head, was scheduled to appear for his own plea hearing at 2 p.m. Friday before Jackson.
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