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California man pleads guilty to using Taser on police officer during Capitol riot

Daniel Rodriguez could spend more than 10 years in prison if the judge agrees with the government that the police officer was restrained when he assaulted him with a Taser.

(CN) — A California man has pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer with a Taser during the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Daniel Rodriguez, 40, admitted to assaulting a law enforcement officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon, as well as to conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding and obstruction of justice, according to a statement Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.

Per his plea agreement, Rodriguez faces a sentence between 6 1/2 years and more than 10 years in prison, depending on whether the judge finds that the police officer was physically restrained when Rodriguez used the Taser on him, as the government maintains. Rodriguez reserved his right to challenge that at his sentencing hearing set for May 16.

Almost 1,000 people have been arrested in the past two years related to the storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters who tried to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's defeat of the Republican incumbent. About 319 rioters have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

Rodriguez was part of the chat group "Patriots 45 MAGA gang" on Telegram who responded to Trump's call to come to Washington on Jan. 6 to protest what Trump claimed was his statistically impossible loss of the presidential election. In late December, Rodriguez told others in the chat group "we gotta go handle this shit in DC so the crooked politicians don't have an army of thugs threatening violence to back their malevolent cabal ways."

On Jan. 3, Rodriguez and others drove a rental car from Los Angeles to Washington, joining a caravan of other Trump supporters in Louisville, Kentucky. He first attended Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally on the morning of Jan. 6 before joining the thousands of other rioters who descended on the Capitol.

During an attempt to enter the Capitol building through a tunnel, Rodriguez was given a small, black, electroshock weapon from another rioter. A little, later he used that weapon on a Metropolitan police officer, who had been pulled into the crowd. Rodriguez applied the Taser to the back of the officer's neck, causing him to lose consciousness and requiring him to be hospitalized for treatment of his injuries.

Rodriguez then joined other rioters who had made their way into the building and ransacked offices, encouraging others to "look for intel."

Afterward, he posted to the Patriots 45 chat group, "Omg I did so much fucking shit m and got away tell you later" and "Tazzed the fuck out of the blue."

Rodriguez's lawyer didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on his guilty plea.

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