Related video above: Florida ‘QAnon’ power couple going to prison for Jan. 6 Capitol assault
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A St. Petersburg man and member of the Proud Boys was sentenced to prison for assaulting police on Jan. 6., 2021, as a mob overran the Capitol during the certification of the 2020 election results.
Zachary Johnson, 34, was originally charged with six offenses in connection to his actions at the Capitol, but took a plea deal in August that dropped all but one count of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon sentenced Johnson to 42 months in prison followed by 36 months of supervised release. According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Johnson marched with a group of Tampa-area Proud Boys who broke through multiple police barricades outside the Capitol.
The group entered the Lower West Terrace tunnel, where police were pushing against glass doors to fend off the mob. Johnson “joined other rioters in a collective push,” according to the DOJ, “including, at times, rocking together in a coordinated ‘heave-ho’ fashion.” During the attack, rioters stole police shields and passed them to the back of the crowd.
After the mob was pushed out of the tunnel, Johnson picked up a discarded police baton and posed for a photo with it. Prosecutors said Johnson helped pass a sledgehammer and pepper spray canister to rioters who were closer to the police line.
“Those rioters then used the pepper spray to further assault the officers protecting the Capitol,” according to the DOJ.
Johnson was arrested by FBI agents on Jan. 13, 2022, one year after the Capitol riot. According to court filings, Johnson’s attorneys placed blame on then-President Donald Trump and his inflammatory comments after losing the 2020 presidential election.