Alan Byerly of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania admits to Jan. 6 attacks on police, AP photographer

WASHINGTON– A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty Monday to assaulting police officers and an Associated Press photographer during the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol.

In a deal with prosecutors, Alan Byerly, 55, admitted to brandishing a stun gun while confronting officers trying to protect the Capitol from the angry mob. He also admitted attacking AP photographer John Minchillo, who was documenting the chaos and violence outside the building where lawmakers were meeting to confirm President Joe Biden’s election victory.

In this image from video dated January 6, 2021, Alan William Byerly, center, can be seen attacking an Associated Press photographer during a riot at the US Capitol in Washington.

AP Photo/Julio Cortez, file

In exchange for pleading guilty to two charges related to the attacks, prosecutors agreed to drop several other charges Byerly faced, including the civil riot charges. An attorney for Byerly declined to comment Monday.

Federal guidelines recommend between three and four years in prison, U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss said. Byerly, of Fleetwood, is due to be sentenced in October.

Byerly, who was arrested last year, is among three people accused of assaulting Minchillo, who was wearing a helmet-style gas mask, as he was being pushed, pulled and punched by a group of men outside the Capitol. The attack was caught on video by a colleague.

Byerly was seen on camera standing behind a group of people who were pulling Minchillo backwards down a flight of stairs leading to the west front of the Capitol, indictment documents show.

At the bottom of the stairs, Byerly and three other people grabbed the photographer and pushed, shoved and dragged him, authorities say. Byerly grabbed Minchillo with both hands and pushed him backwards before continuing to push and drag him off the stairs, prosecutors say.

Minchillo was pinned against a stone wall by the attackers. Authorities say another man, Benjamen Scott Burlew of Miami, Oklahoma, lunged at the photographer and pushed him over the wall, causing Minchillo to land on his back. Burlew was arrested last August and is due to appear in court in October.

A third man accused of the assault was arrested in May. Rodney Milstreed is accused of grabbing Minchillo by his backpack and dragging him backwards down the stairs and then pushing him. In a Facebook post a few days later, Milstreed said the attack on the photographer was “worth it,” adding, “Hit him with everything God gives. The crowd cheered,” the court filings said.

Authorities say shortly after the attack on Minchillo, Byerly was approached by police officers who were standing behind a row of bike racks, trying to hold off the pro-Trump mob. Byerly approached officers while holding up a stun gun and activated the gun, but police were able to knock it out of his hand, prosecutors say.

Byerly continued to attack officers, punching and shoving them and grabbing an officer’s baton, authorities said. Officers were eventually able to restrain Byerly, but he got away with the help of another rioter, according to indictment documents.

Byerly is among more than 300 people who have so far pleaded guilty to federal crimes related to the insurgency. More than 840 people have been charged with crimes ranging from minor offenses to serious offenses such as seditious conspiracy.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Alan Byerly of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania admits to Jan. 6 attacks on police, AP photographer

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