Capitol Rioter Who Pepper Sprayed Police Sentenced to 2.5 Years in Prison

James Easterday, a 19-year-old Kentuckian, sentenced to 30 months in prison for assaulting police with pepper spray during the January 6 Capitol riot. A sobering reminder of ongoing efforts to hold rioters accountable.

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Capitol Rioter Who Pepper Sprayed Police Sentenced to 2.5 Years in Prison

Capitol Rioter Who Pepper Sprayed Police Sentenced to 2.5 Years in Prison

Israel James Easterday, a 19-year-old man from Kentucky, was sentenced to 30 months (2.5 years) in federal prison on Monday for his role in the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Easterday was found guilty of six felonies and three misdemeanors after prosecutors said he was seen smiling while indiscriminately spraying police officers in the face with pepper spray during the insurrection.

Evidence presented at trial showed that Easterday forced his way into the Capitol with a mob after spraying a Capitol police officer in the face at point-blank range, causing the officer to collapse and temporarily lose consciousness. He then used a second can of pepper spray on another group of police, leaving at least one unable to see and in agony for hours.

Easterday, who was wearing a "I ❤️ TRUMP" beanie and carrying a Confederate battle flag during the riot, was identified after federal authorities searched publicly available photos. His attorneys described him as coming from an "extremely sheltered background" and being raised Amish, with no prior history of violence.

Why this matters: The sentencing of Easterday functions as a sobering reminder of the ongoing efforts by federal prosecutors to hold accountable those involved in the violent January 6 attack on the Capitol that disrupted the certification of President Joe Biden's electoral victory. More than 1,385 people have been charged for crimes related to the insurrection.

In addition to the prison sentence, Chief Judge James Boasberg ordered Easterday to pay $2,000 in restitution and complete 500 hours of community service. The judge cited Easterday's youth as a reason for handing down a prison term that was over five times lower than the Justice Department's initial sentencing recommendation. "I accept responsibility for what I've done," Easterday said in court, apologizing to the officers he assaulted.

Key Takeaways

  • James Easterday, 19, sentenced to 30 months in prison for Capitol riot role.
  • Easterday found guilty of 6 felonies and 3 misdemeanors, including spraying police.
  • Easterday apologized and was given a lower sentence due to his youth.
  • Over 1,385 people charged for crimes related to the January 6 insurrection.
  • Easterday ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution and complete 500 hours of community service.