Sohn: Another Tennessee man, MP, charged in January 6 uprising

A Middle Tennessee Sheriff’s Deputy (and former Georgia Sheriff’s Deputy) became the 606th person charged in the Jan.6 riot and insurgency on the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. attorneys said Ronald Colton McAbee, 27, was the man seen in body camera footage of an officer fighting a Metropolitan Police Department officer and dragging another subway officer into the crowd.

Court documents say McAbee is part of a seven-person indictment group, all accused of assaulting officers on the day of the insurgency. His co-defendants included Jack Wade Whitton, a fitness trainer from Georgia, who is accused of using a crutch to attack a Metropolitan Police officer, and Jeffrey Sabol, who is accused of holding a stick to his neck. ‘an officer.

Before McAbee left to work in November 2020 for the Williamson County Sheriff‘s Office, he worked as an assistant in the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia. This would make him a seasoned law enforcement officer, now accused of attempting to injure other law enforcement officers.

So much for “Blue Lives Matter”.

But McAbee was by no means the only police officer or military veteran – or Tennessee, Georgian or Alabamian who was part of the insurgency.

At least 81 of those accused of the potential coup have ties to the military or law enforcement, according to an NPR database of those indicted in the aftermath of January 6. Another one you may remember: Joseph Lino Padilla, 40, from neighboring Cleveland, who the FBI said threw a flag pole at officers attacked by rioters on the steps leading to the Capitol. Padilla was honorably released as an E-5 Sergeant of the Tennessee Army National Guard in 2012.

In total now, Tennessee can boast 16 people, while Georgia can boast 14 and Alabama 10 – all of this is part of what the FBI has called an act of domestic terrorism and what the Department of Justice calls it “the largest criminal investigation in US history.”

Before McAbee’s arrest, probably Tennessee’s most memorable participant was “the tie guy”, Eric Gavelek Munchel of Nashville. Other indicted volunteer state rioters include Michael Timbrook of Cookeville, Michael Lee Roche of Murfreesboro, Bryan Wayne Ivey of Crossville.

McAbee was on leave from the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office during the Capitol Riot due to a shoulder and hip injury from a car crash on December 27, 2020, according to The Tennessean.

Video captured during the riot shows a man identified by the FBI as McAbee wearing a red MAGA hat and black tactical vest with a sheriff’s patch and badge with the Roman numeral III surrounded by stars – an emblem associated with the movement three percent anti-government militia. The man in the video who is believed to be McAbee also wore black gloves with hardmetal-colored knuckles.

Prosecutors said after McAbee assaulted another law enforcement officer, he attempted to use his officer status to gain access inside the Capitol, according to the Tennessean. Video captured during the riot shows him appearing to injure his shoulder as the crowd crossed the Capitol police line. He was seen apparently leaning in pain under the arch of the Capitol, and he said his shoulder was broken. He then showed the sheriff’s patch and told the Capitol Police that he couldn’t go back.

He was arrested Tuesday in Nashville and, in a pre-trial motion, prosecutors called the action “powerful proof of his disrespect for legal authority.” He tried to use his status as a law enforcement agent to gain access, after he had just assaulted several Capitol officers. Prosecutors also argued that he should be held without bail because he was a “talker” who sparked the riot and was a “threat to the peaceful functioning of our community”.

It’s good to see these cases continue to be investigated and prosecuted – unlike what we’ve seen so far in Congress as politicians play with words and stall.

In May, Republicans – anxious to “move on” without looking further at Donald Trump or their own actions – voted to block a bipartisan Jan.6 commission to investigate the violence.

A month ago, Kévin McCarthy withdrew abruptly its five candidates to sit on a special January 6 House committee hosted by President Nancy Pelosi. McCarthy’s tantrum came after Pelosi dismissed two of the nominees, staunch supporters and representatives of Trump, Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, who each made statements that made it clear their minds were closed to any new facts or revelation.

Three weeks ago, four of the officers assaulted by mobs on Capitol Hill testified before Congress.

“I was caught, beaten, teased, while being treated as a traitor to my country,” Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone said. “I was in danger of being stripped and killed with my own gun, as I heard chants of ‘Kill him with his own gun’.”

Two weeks ago, the House’s main oversight committee postponed its scheduled talks with former Justice Department officials and announced that its separate investigation into the Trump DOJ would instead be left to the select panel.

Sooner or later we’ll know more about that terrible day – perhaps much of it as these 606 cases make their way into federal courtrooms. It will be 606 days of testimony that the GOP cannot scuttle.

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