ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — A St. Petersburg man pleaded guilty to assaulting law enforcement alongside his fellow Proud Boys during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Zachary Johnson, 34, entered his guilty plea in a Washington D.C. courtroom on Thursday, according to a news release from the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Johnson was originally charged with six offenses in connection to his actions at the Capitol, but agreed to a plea deal that dropped all but one count of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers. According to the DOJ, Johnson marched with a group of 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. His sentencing date is set for Nov. 30.