Tennessee man who dragged police officer into rioting crowd on Jan. 6 sentenced to more than 7 years in prison

Albuquerque Head, of Tennessee, admitted to participating in one of the most violent episodes in the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol.

Government exhibit

Washington — The Tennessee man who admitted to dragging Washington, D.C. police officer Michael Fanone into a violent mob outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced Thursday to 90 months in prison.

Albuquerque Head, a 43-year-old father and construction worker, pleaded guilty in May to assaulting the police officer and taking part in one of the most volatile episodes of the Capitol riot.

Prosecutors alleged — and Head later admitted — that after listening to former President Donald Trump’s speech on the White House Ellipse that day, he headed toward the Capitol and made his way past the barricades to the front of the crowd that has collected in the lower Tunnel West terrace.

“After Trump mentioned that he would go to the Capitol, Mr. Head followed the rest of the rally attendees there. This was another bad decision, which Mr. Head readily acknowledges,” his lawyer wrote in a document ahead of Thursday’s sentencing hearing, arguing for a 60-month sentence.

The government said Head, wearing a camouflage “Trump 2020” hat, then made the conscious choice to grab a riot shield to confront an outnumbered line of law enforcement officers and push forward to the front of the crowd. And when the police finally pushed the rioters out of the tunnel – where many of the most brutal attacks on officers took place – Head turned to Fanone.

Albuquerque Head at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Government exhibit

In their own pre-sentence memorandum, prosecutors said that as the crowd retreated, Head “wrapped his arm around Officer Fanone’s neck and let out a sickening cry to his fellow rioters, “I’ve got one,” dragging the officer into the crowd and exposing him to even more furious attacks. Another alleged rioter, Danny Rodriguez, is accused of delivering an electric shock to the base of Fanone’s skull after Head pulled him into the crowd.

The crowd shouted “kill him” and “take his gun” at Fanone until he was finally freed from their grip.

Fanone testified during Thursday’s hearing that he was hurt and traumatized by Head’s actions and advocated that Head receive the maximum sentence for his crime.

“Your honor, I would ask that you show Mr. Head the same mercy that he showed me on January 6,” Fanone told Judge Amy Berman Jackson.

Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Head — first arrested in April 2021, just months after the Capitol attack — to 96 months in prison.

In handing down his decision, Jackson noted Head’s successful fight against addiction and his role as a father and caretaker. Head did not speak on his own behalf Thursday, but his attorney wrote that Head is “embarrassed and remorseful.”

Jackson condemned Head’s actions as part of “some of the darkest acts committed” in our nation’s history. The “hand-to-hand combat” that Head engaged in, she said, contributed to a brutal two-hour “medieval battle” outside the Capitol.

“He was your prey. He was your trophy,” the judge told Fanone Thursday, later stressing what she thought was the irony of seeing a “Blue Lives Matter” flag flying over the crowd on Jan. 6 when the officer was attacked. Members of the crowd, Jackson said, warning him, “didn’t think blue lives mattered much at all.”

And the judge warned those who continue to stoke fear that Elections in 2020 was “stolen”, saying they should take responsibility that their baseless claims contributed to the chaos that day.

Jackson ordered Head to serve 90 months in prison with credit for time served.

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