Capitol riot defendant sentenced to 63 months prison for assaulting police officers
Tyler Merbler from USA, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Capitol riot defendant sentenced to 63 months prison for assaulting police officers

The US District Court for the District of Columbia Tuesday sentenced Mark Ponder to 63 months in prison for assaulting three police officers during the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. Ponder is the second Capitol riot defendant to be sentenced to 63 months, the longest prison term handed down thus far.

According to court documents, Ponder arrived at the western portion of Capitol grounds on January 6 at around 2:30 pm. Once there, Ponder struck out at a US Capitol police officer with a long, thin pole, breaking through the officer’s riot shield. Ponder briefly retreated before returning with a heavier pole, which he then used to attack a second US Capitol police officer. About fifteen minutes later, Ponder used the same pole to engage in a fight between a crowd of rioters and a line of Metropolitan Police Department officers. Ponder struck an officer at that time as well.

Ponder was arrested in DC on March 17, 2021. The US Attorney’s Office for DC and the Department of Justice (DOJ) National Security Division’s Counterrorism Section led the case against Ponder. Ponder appeared before a federal judge on April 22, 2022 and pleaded guilty to one count of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon under 18 USC § 111(a)(1) and (b).

Following his prison sentence, Ponder will be subject to three years of supervised release. Ponder also must pay $2,000 in restitution for damage to the Capitol and injuries to those affected by the riot.

Since the DOJ began investigating individuals involved with the Capitol riot, more than 850 individuals have been arrested hailing from nearly all 50 states. Of those individuals, more than 260 have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, like Ponder. The DOJ stresses the investigation in conjunction with the FBI is ongoing.