WASHINGTON – An Illinois man, a member of the Proud Boys, pleaded guilty today to assaulting a law enforcement officer during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election.
James Robert Elliott, 25, of Aurora, Illinois, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers.
The Proud Boys describe themselves as members of a “pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world, aka Western Chauvinists.” According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Elliott marched with other members of the Proud Boys from the area of the Washington Monument towards the Capitol. He had a ballistic vest, helmet, and hard-knuckle gloves. He also had a radio and carried a flag with a wooden pole.
Elliott illegally passed barriers and entered the restricted grounds of the Capitol. Shortly before 1:40 p.m., he arrived at the West Front of the Capitol. He faced a mob of rioters behind him and yelled a phrase inspired by a battle cry from the movie “300:” “Patriots, what is your occupation?” to which he responded, “Ah-ooh! Ah-ooh! Ah-ooh!” while thrusting his flagpole in the air.
At approximately 1:40 p.m., while officers were attempting to replace bicycle rack barriers to hold back the mob on the Lower West Terrace, Elliott swung his flagpole at officers and then thrust it forward into the police line. The flagpole made contact with an officer. Elliott then advanced to the base of the inauguration scaffolding, where he repeated the battle cry. He was repelled by chemical irritants and did not advance further toward the Capitol Building.
After Jan. 6, Elliott sent text messages describing his actions, saying, among other things, “I bonked 2 cops … never thought I’d say that lol.”
Elliott was arrested on Dec. 20, 2021, in Batavia, Illinois. He is to be sentenced on Feb. 10, 2023. He faces a statutory maximum of eight years in prison and potential financial penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Chicago and Washington Field Offices. Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.
In the 21 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 880 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 270 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.