Capitol rioter draped in Confederate flag gets 33 months

May 24, 2022, 11:17 AM | Updated: 12:02 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Maryland man who was draped in a Confederate flag when he stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced Monday to 33 months in prison for assaulting police officers and obstructing an official proceeding during the mob’s attack.

Matthew Ryan Miller, 23, sprayed a fire extinguisher at law enforcement officers who were trying to prevent rioters from entering the building, according to a summary of the case Miller signed. Video also captured Miller throwing an unidentifiable object toward officers, prosecutors said.

Miller traveled to Washington from his home in Cooksville, Maryland. He wore a black cowboy hat, a Washington Capitals jersey and both the Maryland state flag and the Gadsden flag, which features a yellow background and hissing snake, tied around his neck. As the mob gathered on the West side of the building, Miller, who was draped in a Confederate flag at the time, threw a full beer can at the Capitol and police officers, according to court documents.

After using a metal barrier as a ladder to scale a Capitol wall, Miller urged others in the mob to join him in pushing against law enforcement officers on the Lower West Terrace. Miller waved his hand and said “Come on” as the mob chanted “Heave! Ho!” and rocked back and forth in pushing towards the tunnel entrance that law enforcement officers were guarding. Miller put up his fingers as he yelled, “One, two, three, push!” He also sprayed the fire extinguisher at officers in the tunnel.

Miller was freed after his arrest last year but was ordered detained until sentencing after his guilty plea in February.

Lawyer A. Eduardo Balarezo, said Miller’s judgment was clouded by his intoxication and his age, The Washington Post reported. Miller, then 22, had 10 beers, some hard liquor and smoked some marijuana.

“I’m ashamed to have been so swayed by my shortcomings, addictions and naivete. Sadly, I partook in some idiotic actions that have changed my life forever,” Miller told the judge.

U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss, went below sentencing guidelines, saying he was moved by Miller’s statement, his age and intoxication and that he behaved while on pretrial release. Miller must serve two years on supervised release after his prison term. He also must pay $2,000 in restitution.

More than 800 defendants have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. More than 290 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanors, and more than 170 have been sentenced.

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Capitol rioter draped in Confederate flag gets 33 months