Capitol riot defendant cried during interview when using a stun gun on an officer, officials say

·3 min read
Oliver Contreras

In a tearful interrogation with investigators, a man charged in connection with the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 acknowledged using a stun gun on a federal officer during a mob assault, according to videos released by federal authorities.

“What do you want me to tell you? That I Tased him? Yes,” the man, Daniel Rodriguez, 39, of Fontana, California, said in the video, which the Justice Department released Tuesday.

“Why did you Tase him?” an investigator asked.

“I don’t know,” Rodriguez said through tears. “I’m sorry. I know he’s a human being with children. ... And he’s not a bad guy, it sounds like. He is just doing his job."

Videos show that the investigators referred to the assaulted officer by his last name, Fanone. Washington Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone suffered a heart attack and a traumatic brain injury in the Jan. 6 attack and has testified before the House select committee about his experience.

Rodriguez’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. They have argued that statements Rodriguez made about the officer are inadmissible in court, and they requested that all of Rodriguez’s statements about Fanone be suppressed, according to a court filing this week.

When he was questioned in March, Rodriguez told officials that “Trump called us to D.C.,” the video shows.

An investigator asked him how former President Donald Trump did that.

“If he’s the commander-in-chief and the leader of our country and he is calling for help — I thought he was calling for help — I thought I was doing the right thing,” Rodriguez said, his voice cracking.

Rodriguez was indicted in March on charges that include assaulting a federal officer with a dangerous weapon; impeding, obstructing or interfering with law enforcement during the commission of a civil disorder that obstructs an official proceeding; and theft of government property.

Federal officials last week announced an added conspiracy charge against him from a superseding indictment. Rodriguez has been detained since he was arrested March 31 , federal officials said last month.

According to the superseding indictment, in the fall of 2020, Rodriguez and others created a Telegram group chat, called the Patriots 45 MAGA Gang, and used it to advocate violence against certain groups and people who supported the 2020 presidential election results or held positions of authority in government, the Justice Department said in a statement.

“The group’s activities included collecting weapons and tactical gear to bring to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, storming past barricades to gain unlawful access to the Capitol, and coordinating activities before, during, and after the riot," the Justice Department said.

Fanone, who was one of four officers who testified at the first hearing of the House Jan. 6 committee, told the panel that he was at risk of getting killed with his own firearm by the mob.

“I was grabbed, beaten, Tased, all while being called a traitor to my country,” he said in his opening statement.

Rioters dragged him to the crowd, grabbed his badge and ammunition and beat him with metal objects and their fists, he said. “I was electrocuted again and again and again with a Taser,” he said.

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